Winners on Tour: Elementary again for Watson at RivieraFebruary 21, 2016 Golf News
Fraser sneaks in for Malaysian victory
PGA Tour: Northern Trust Open – Bubba Watson
In a week that he made an appearance on a TV show, his son played drums with Justin Bieber, watched an NBA basketball game and passed a kidney stone Bubba Watson birdied 16 and 17 to claim his second title here.
His round got going with a par save at the 10th and a 30-footer at the next. Jason Kokrak led by two but then bogeyed the 15th and Watson’s late birdies did the rest.
Kokrak needed a birdie at the 72nd hole and narrowly missed from 20 feet and Watson’s par meant Adam Scott could pack his bags and go home.
The Aussie had a curious day, making eagle at the 1st, playing the first six holes in five holes, then doubling the 8th and then making back-to-back bogeys at 14 and 15 to look out of it. Then a two-putt birdie at 17 gave him a sniff before he rattled in his chip at the last for a 67.
Rory McIlroy also eagled the 1st but then had seven bogeys in an out-of-sorts 75.
What Bubba said: “I get a good, excited feeling here. I love coming here, the history of this place. The great champions, obviously the real great champions here are a big thing to me. Just seeing the shots over and over. I think that’s what makes Augusta so special is that every year, it’s that major tournament in the same spot so we can see past champion after past champion.
“It’s not changing golf courses, so this place hasn’t changed. It’s stayed the same. They have added the tee box on 2 and so far we don’t play it. They have added some things but we don’t play those things. So I love the history and I love the challenge of the course, and a couple times in the last few years, my head’s in the right spot and it’s worked out.”
European Tour: Maybank Championship Malaysia – Marcus Fraser
Nearly six years after his last win the Australian eventually won by two over Soomin Lee despite being two behind the South Korean on the 16th tee.
Lee then double-bogeyed the 16th, where Fraser got up and down for par, and the Aussie stayed on level terms with a 10-footer at the next.
At the 72nd hole Lee made another six and Fraser had a near 20-footer to win which he drained. Lee missed a short one to drop into a share of second with Filipino Miguel Tabuena at 13 under.
Fraser signed for a bogey-free 68, he only dropped two shots all week, both on Friday.
What Fraser said: “In the back of my head I felt like I had a chance. He’s quite young and it’s a big thing to be leading a European Tour event with three or four holes to go.
“So I just tried to keep reminding myself to breathe and to play my own game and see what I could do. The last two putts were pretty unbelievable. I was pretty nervous on 17 and I don’t know how I held onto the putter, just trying to stand over that one on the last, I was pretty nervous.
“I got to the Middle East and I think it was the three worst weeks of golf I’ve played in my career.I had some good practice when I went home, went back to absolute basics and tried to sort things out from the start and everything just fell into place as the week went on.”
LPGA/LET Tour: Women’s Australian Open – Haru Nomura
After taking just 26 putts Nomura claimed her first win on the LPGA Tour in Adelaide. Her only previous tournament victory came as a professional in her home country of Japan after turning professional at 17.
The 23-year-old had eight birdies from the 5th to the 17th, including a hat-trick from the 15th, to hold off the more fancied Lydia Ko, who was second, with Karrie Webb a distant third. Charley Hull was tied fourth after a closing 69 with fellow English woman Georgia Hall and Catriona Matthew also in the top 10.
Nomura was round in 65 to finish three ahead of Ko. The World No 1 got within one of Nomura but the putts kept dropping and she sealed the victory with a monster effort at the penultimate hole.
What Nomura said: ““It has a big meaning, a first win on the LPGA Tour. It was surprising that it came early, but it’s just the beginning, I hope.
“What I realised for this week is that I need to believe in my own golf and this week, that’s why I won. If I believed in my golf earlier, then I might have won those previous tournaments as well.”