Golf: Second win in three years for Bubba Watson at Northern Trust Open

Bubba Watson poses with the winners trophy following his victory of the Northern Trust Open.
Bubba Watson poses with the winners trophy following his victory of the Northern Trust Open. PHOTO: REUTERS/ USA TODAY SPORTS

PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA (Reuters) - Bubba Watson clinched the Northern Trust Open on Sunday for a second time in three years, sealing victory by one shot after a wildly-fluctuating final round at sunny Riviera.

A stroke in front overnight, the American left-hander twice fell two off the pace as first Adam Scott and then Jason Kokrak broke clear, but he regained control of the tournament with two birdies in the last three holes.

Watson, who has always loved playing on the iconic Riviera Country Club layout, shot 68 on a breezy afternoon to land his ninth PGA Tour title with a 15-under total of 269.

"It means a lot," Watson, who won the 2014 Northern Trust Open two months before claiming his second Masters title, told CBS Sports in a greenside interview. "You never know when your last (win) is going to be. So for me to come back and to win, and pull one out in a tough way, is special for me and my family.

"It's all about staying patient with (caddie) Teddy (Scott) in my ear. It's been a struggle over the last five years but it's going in the right direction."

Australian Scott, after an electrifying start that included an eagle and three birdies in his first six holes, carded a roller-coaster 67 to share second place with long-hitting American Kokrak (68).

"There wasn't a lot in it," said Scott, who ended his round with a birdie-birdie flourish, including a chip-in at the last. "I played a good round of golf around a pretty demanding course again today."

World No.3 Rory McIlroy squandered a fast start with an erratic putting display as he shot 75 to finish nine shots off the pace.