Watson holds a Riviera edge over fellow bomber Johnson

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:34pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Americans Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson share much in common heading into the final round of the Northern Trust Open on Sunday as prime contenders for the title.

Both men are renowned for their power hitting, which has featured prominently this week high up on the tournament leaderboard, and they are both unabashed admirers of the iconic and always challenging Riviera layout.

Watson, however, has two advantages over Johnson as he targets a ninth career victory on the PGA Tour.

Unlike Johnson, he has won here before, in 2014, and he will start the final round at Riviera with a one-stroke lead over his compatriot.

"The benefit is I know I can do it," twice Masters champion Watson, 37, told reporters after firing a four-under 67 on Saturday to edge one shot clear on a tightly bunched leaderboard.

"I know I can go bogey-free because when I won here (in 2014), I did it over the weekend, and knowing that I can make putts around here, and knowing that the holes ... most of them are good for me, a good fit for me."

Two years ago, Watson clinched the Northern Trust Open title by two shots after a flawless display over the weekend as he fired successive 64s.

"Overall, knowing that I've won here and knowing that I can play around here, obviously I have a little bit of an advantage on the guy that probably hasn't won here," said the left-hander.   Continued...

February 20, 2016; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA; Dustin Johnson hits from the eighteenth hole fairway during the third round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports