Playoff Decides about Watson’s Victory at Zurich Classic
New Orleans, Louisiana – Bubba Watson collected his second PGA Tour victory this year, with a wondrous bunker save on the second playoff hole Sunday, for a sudden death victory over Webb Simpson at the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic.
With his tee shot in a fairway bunker on the par 5 18th hole at the TPC Louisiana course, Watson, long-hitting American, powered his second shot 230 yards onto the green, just 50 feet from the hole. When Simpson missed his birdie putt from 10 feet, Watson rolled in a three-foot birdie putt for the win. "My goals are always the same. Win tournaments and make (Ryder Cup) teams. I've already won two, let's try to win three," he said.
He collected $1.152 million dollars American for the victory and moved to the top of the season-long FedEx Cup bonus standings. Watson shot a final round 69-273 total, 15-under-par. “As long as I played the way Bubba should play, I will be OK,” he said.
Simpson, who had never won, had his career high finish after also finishing at 69-273. Americans Jason Dufner, who shot a final round 66, and Tommy Gainey, along with Korean K. J. Choi tied for third at 275. Both Choi and Gainey shot a fourth round 69.
The playoff would not have been needed if Simpson had not called a penalty on himself on the 15th green, which no one else saw. With Simpson’s ball at near tap-in distance, he walked up to it and was about to putt it out when the ball moved as he set his putter down behind the ball. At least that’s what Simpson told a rules official after calling for one before he replaced the ball and took a one-stroke penalty for the breech of golf's rules. “But this is why we do what we do,” said of the honest move. “This is why we work out, why we practice, to give ourselves a chance to win on the PGA Tour. I think that kind of calms my nerves.”
Both players made a par 5 on the 18th hole in regulation and made birdies on the first playoff hole with Watson rolling in a 15-foot birdie try. After watching Simpson's birdie putt barely slide past the hole, Watson tapped in his winning try. He expressed his win with a small first pump, then hugging his mother, who nears a few hours away in the Florida Western Panhandle, and his wife Angie.
While Simpson had a three-shot lead in the final round after Watson put his tee shot in the water on the par 3 ninth hole, the two players separated themselves from the field, making the back nine a two-man, match-play contest. Something Watson excelled at in last year's Ryder Cup in Wales.
1) Bubba Watson (USA) 66-68-70-69 (273, -15) wins in playoff
Webb Simpson (USA) 68-69-67-69
3) K. J. Choi (KOR) 68-71-67-69 (275, -13)
Tommy Gainey (USA) 67-71-68-69
Jason Dufner (USA) 68-69-72-66
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