A series of three-putts came in the way of a strong final round for India’s Anirban Lahiri, who slipped to tied 26th on the final day of the Genesis Open golf tournament.
The Indian ace, who is trying to get into the world’s top-50 and earn a berth into the Masters, shot three-over 74 and slipped from tied 13th to tied 26th.
Lahiri, who had holed a whole lot of long and crucial putts on Saturday, bore the brunt of the firm Sunday greens at the Riviera, and it cost him dearly. He had four birdies but also gave away seven bogeys, many of them with three-putts.
Looking for a strong finish, Lahiri began well with birdies on first and third holes at which point a Top-10 finish looked realistic. Then came a series of three putts and he dropped bogeys on sixth, seventh and eighth. He turned in 1-over 36.
Things were even rougher on back nine, as he bogeyed four times against two birdies, both of which came on par-5s.
At the top, Bubba Watson ended his two-year title drought with his third win at Riviera. As everyone else dropped shots, Watson gained control with two excellent par putts and then slowly but steadily pulled ahead.
He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory in the Genesis Open. He finished at 12-under 272 and moved to No. 41 in the world, which makes him eligible for the World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship in two weeks.
Bubba won by two shots over Kevin Na and Tony Finau, and more tears on the 18th green. It was his first victory since he won at Riviera two years ago.
Watson showed up this year at No. 117, coming off a year filled with so many doubts that he says he discussed retirement with his wife on a dozen occasions. He now moves inside Top-50 as he gets ready for the Masters, where he owns two Green Jackets from 2012 and 2014.
Bubba joined Ben Hogan and Lloyd Mangrum as three-time winners at Riviera. Hogan’s victories include a U.S. Open.
Patrick Cantlay had a one-shot lead going to the back nine until he ran into tree trouble on the 12th and 13th holes. He could do no better than tie for fourth with Scott Stallings (68).
Phil Mickelson was within one shot of the lead when he hit a 4-iron from a deep bunker on the 15th hole to just right of the green. But while going for a birdie he had the ball rolling 20 feet down the hill leading to a bogey. Mickelson shot 68 and tied for sixth. It was his third successive Top-10, and first since 2009.
An emotional Bubba said, “My goal has always been to get 10 wins. So many emotions going through my head right now. You never know if you’re going to play good again. You never know if you’re going to lift the trophy.”
Watson had joked once saying he would retire if he reached 10 Tour victories, but with the Masters coming up that would be one of the last thoughts in his head.