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Week 12: Bubba jumps to World No. 21

March 27, 2018

WGC – Dell Match Play

Bubba Watson claimed a thumping 7 and 6 victory over Kevin Kisner to win a second World Golf Championships title at the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play.

Kisner had beaten Alex Noren in a high-quality semi-final and the championship match looked set to be a tight affair but Watson won the first five holes to storm into a lead he never looked like relinquishing.

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The difference was six at the turn and while Kisner got the biggest cheer of the day as he won the 11th with a lengthy putt, Watson birdied the next to complete a comprehensive victory.

Noren finished third with a 5 and 3 win over Justin Thomas, whose loss to Watson in the last four prevented him from moving to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

In adding this victory to his 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions title, two-time Masters Tournament champion Watson becomes just the fifth player after Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to win multiple Major Championships and WGCs.

"It's crazy to think about it," he said. "I've got two World Golf Championships, counting this one, and two Majors.

"It's unbelievable to think about that. Giving my mom a hug, six years old, having one golf club for a year, no lessons. I can sit here and make up stories all day but it's absolutely remarkable that I'm able to lift a trophy like this."

He added: "Kisner is a great player. He's played great all week and you can just tell the energy was gone with the tough match this morning.

PGA Tour - Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

Brice Garnett completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship for his first PGA TOUR title.

Two strokes ahead after three late wind-blown bogeys Saturday, Garnett closed with a 2-under 70 in windy and rainy conditions for a four-stroke victory over Keith Mitchell.

"I slept good, actually," Garnett said. "Surprisingly, I did. I woke up a little bit early, a little bit restless, but I was just excited for the day. We talked last night that obstacles were opportunities, so it's fun."

The 34-year-old Garnett, a two-time winner last year on the Web.com Tour, finished at 18-under 270. He opened with a 63 and added rounds of 69 and 70.

"I had a buddy text me this morning and said, `You're the only guy in the field who's won twice in the last year, so go get another one.' Drew on a lot of those experiences. ... It's crazy. It's a lot of hard work, a lot of determination and a lot of support along the way."

Web.com Tour - Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER

29-year-old Julian Etulain from Buenos Aires won the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER with a final-round 4-under 67. His 19-under-par 265 total placed him two clear of Taylor Moore.

“It’s really big for me,” said Etulain, who won in his 73rd start. “We’ve been working toward this. It was my first time winning in the U.S.A. I hope to win more tournaments here.”

Entering the final round, Etulain was five shots clear of the field but struggled out of the gates. The man they call “Tula” bogeyed the third hole and held a one-stroke advantage on the tee at the par-4 fourth.

“I was a little nervous at the start,” he said. “I’ve never been in that position. When you are leading by five, it feels different. You need to be aggressive but smart.”

Etulain composed himself after the rocky start with a bounce-back birdie at the fourth. He then added birdies at Nos. 7, 10, 11 and 12 to regain command of the tournament.

“I told my coach we needed to win a tournament,” said Etulain, who has nine international victories including four on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. “I’ve never won in the U.S. and now I have.”

Challenge Tour – Barclays Kenya Open

Lorenzo Gagli secured his first victory on the European Challenge Tour by holding his nerve to beat Jens Fahrbring in a three-hole play-off to claim the Barclays Kenya Open title.

On what is the 50th anniversary of the African event it was fitting that the tournament proved to be such a spectacle with large crowds witnessing Italy’s Gagli and Sweden’s Fahrbring go head to head over extra holes.

With scoring proving difficult for most of the field at Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club, it was Fahrbring who took the clubhouse lead following a fine closing round of 67.

Gagli, playing in the penultimate group of the day, nearly won the tournament in regulation play but after seeing an eagle putt shave the hole he had to settle for a final round of 68 – good enough for a place in a play-off against Fahrbring.

PGA Tour LatinoAmerica - 59 Abierto Mexicano de Golf

Austin Smotherman turned what was a tightly bunched leaderboard when the final round of the 59th Mexican Open began into something of a rout as he shot a final-round 65. It was Smotherman’s fourth consecutive round of 66 or better at Club Campestre de Tijuana this week, and that was more than enough to secure his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title.

PGA Tour Series China - Chongqing Championship

China's Yi Cao beat England’s William Harrold with a birdie on the first extra hole after firing a bogey-free, 9-under 63 to force a playoff at the Chongqing Championship.

It was a first pro title for the 28-year-old Cao, who started the day eight shots behind Harrold before his nine-birdie round set the clubhouse lead at 14-under, a tally matched by the Englishman after a 71 at Poly Golf Club’s South Course. The 63 set a new record for low finish by a winner, bettering the 64 by Chinese Taipei’s Shihchang Chan in winning the 2015 Eternal Courtyard Open. Making up the eight-stroke deficit also easily set a new Series mark. The previous best come-from-behind win five strokes by Daniel Nisbet at the 2016 Clearwater Bay Open.

Australia’s Max McCardle and Chinese Taipei’s Chiehpo “Max” Lee (69) shared third, at 11-under, one ahead of Hong Kong’s Shunyat “Jason” Hak, who fired a 66 to get inside the top five.

Cao’s career-best tie for third, ironically, came at the 2015 Eternal Courtyard Open, where Chan came from behind to win in Zhengzhou. Cao also recorded seven other top-10s in his 29 previous events on Tour. Yet he had never been able to get his hands on a trophy. Now he has on a final day he’ll always remember.

Asian Development Tour - OB Golf Invitational

Overnight leader Shohei Hasegawa of Japan was declared the winner of the OB Golf Invitational when officials decided to cancel the final round due to inclement weather on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Hasegawa was delighted to clinch his maiden Asian Development Tour victory, which was also his first professional win since he joined the play-for-pay ranks in 2015.

The weather didn’t look good this morning and I thought I would still have 18 holes to play a better round today. But they decided to shorten the tournament I was just upset that I didn’t get the opportunity to play in the final group which I was looking forward to. I was going to use today to gauge how I perform under pressure since I had a big group chasing me from behind. It’s not something you experience every day and it is great practice at this level of competition,” said Hasegawa who won with his three-day total of 10-under-par 203.

The final round was scheduled to start at 7.30am local time but was delayed till 8.30am and suspended again at 8.57am due to lighting threats before officials subsequently announced the cancelation of the final round at 11am.

“After deliberation, the organizing committee decided to cancel the final round due to heavy rain which was expected to last throughout the day. Conditions were also deemed unplayable,” said Asian Tour Tournament Director, Fritz Katzengruber.

Hasegawa, an Asian Tour Qualifying school graduate who resides in Hiroshima, Japan, has been riding on good form coming into this week with a tied-sixth finish in Brunei earlier this month.

 




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