There were tears of joy for Bubba Watson as he celebrated winning his 10th PGA Tour title.
His first victory in two years, the American finished the Genesis Open in California on 12-under, two shots ahead of countrymen Kevin Na and Tony Finau.
Scotsman Martin Laird tied in ninth, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy tied for 20th, despite a strong final round.
It was a moment to savour at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, for Watson, 39, who had considered retiring due to concerns over his physical ability.
Overcome with emotion, he told CBS: “It means a lot, my goal was always to get 10 wins and this got me to my 10th win. There’s so many emotions going around my head right now. You never know if you’re going to play good again, you never know if you’re going to be able to lift a trophy again.”
Watson’s final round saw two birdies and three bogeys before the turn, although he pulled ahead with a trio of birdies on the back nine to secure a two-under round of 69.
The Floridian’s strongest performance in round three, a six-under round of 65, had powered him to a one-shot lead for the final day.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 18, 2018
After his 10th PGA Tour open win, the third at the Riviera, Watson paid tribute to his family and caddie Ted Scott.
“I’ve mentioned it (retirement) about 10, 12 times to my wife, we’ve sat down and had may talks about it because physically I wasn’t where I needed to be to keep continuing to play,” he said.
“Obviously God’s given me a gift to play golf and I’m not good at anything else.”
Four-time major winner McIlroy ended the tournament with a 68 to follow rounds of 71, 69 and 73 to finish on three-under, one shot behind fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.
The 28-year-old McIlroy has now gone 16 months without winning a tournament, but his performance at the Riviera Country Club was an improvement on the previous week when he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
McDowell had briefly shot to the top of the leaderboard after carding 66 in the second round, although the impressive performance was followed by rounds of 70 and 77.
Tiger Woods, who returned to the Riviera for the first time in 12 years, missed the cut after following an opening round of 72 with a disappointing 76 in the second.
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