Elementary for Watson as American wins World Challenge

Sun Dec 6, 2015 7:03pm EST
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(Reuters) - American Bubba Watson cruised to a three-shot victory at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Sunday and wasted little time paying tribute to tournament host Tiger Woods. Dual Masters champion Watson was in control throughout the final round, shooting 66 to finish at 25-under-par 263, three clear of fellow American Patrick Reed (66).

Starting with a two-shot buffer, Watson claimed control with four birdies in his opening seven holes at Albany Golf Club in New Providence before adding three more early on the back nine.

A final hole bogey was his only blemish as he claimed the $3.5 million event, which comprised an exclusive 18-man field, and offered world ranking points, though it is not an official PGA Tour event.

Rickie Fowler (64) finished third at 21-under, with world number one and defending champion Jordan Spieth (67) left to settle for fourth place, five shots back.

Woods was unable to play due to recent back surgery, but he was on site to watch the action. “It means a lot,” Watson told reporters as he spoke glowingly of 14-times major champion Woods.

“He’s the guy I looked up to, he’s the guy I wanted to be like. How do you not want to be a champion like him when it comes to golf?”

In the field as a late addition after Australian Jason Day withdrew, Watson made the most of relatively benign conditions throughout the tournament, overpowering a course usually protected by brisk winds.

While his length was an obvious boon, the 37-year-old claimed it was his work on the greens he had to thank.

“I just think it’s putting,” the world number four said.   Continued...

File photo of Bubba Watson during the second round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, China, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song