Finishing kick puts Watney in winner's circle
Nick Watney appeared to be along for the ride yesterday until making two birdies over the final three holes to take advantage of a late collapse by John Rollins and win the Buick Invitational in San Diego.
Watney knocked in a 40-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-3 16th, then completed his five-shot rally with a two-putt birdie on the 18th hole. He closed with a 4-under-par 68 for his second career victory.
"I knew it wasn't over," Watney said.
Rollins (74) let this one get away.
He had a three-shot lead with five holes to play until making bogeys at the 14th and 16th, and failing to hit the green on the par-5 18th, leading to a par.
Watney, who is a cousin of NESN Red Sox reporter Heidi Watney, finished at 11-under 277 - the same total Ryuji Imada had last year when he was runner-up by eight shots to Tiger Woods.
Lucas Glover and Camilo Villegas also had their chances.
Glover briefly was within one shot of the lead and was still in the mix until he pulled his tee shot on the 17th into rough so thick he had to hit out short of the green and missed a 7-foot par putt. He birdied the last hole for a 68 and tied for third, two shots behind.
Villegas (72) was within one shot until a three-putt from 10 feet on the par-5 sixth, and Rollins's collapse offered the Colombian another chance. But he hit out of the rough and over the green at the 17th to make a bogey, and his 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole stopped a few inches above the hole.
Watney was five shots behind going into the final round and was an afterthought most of the day, never getting closer than two shots until the tournament swung in his favor on the 16th.
Matt Jones matched the low round of the week on the South Course with a 64 and finished alone in fifth.
Padraig Harrington broke 70 for the first time all week in his PGA Tour debut this season and tied for 24th at 1-under 287. Phil Mickelson went the other direction, posting progressively higher scores each day until closing with a 75 to tie for 42d. He finished at 290, his highest 72-hole score in the Buick Invitational.
Ladies European Tour - Katherine Hull fired a closing 4-under 68 for 16-under 272 total and a five-stroke victory over Tamie Durdin (70) and Ryu So-yeon (67) in the Australian Ladies Masters at Gold Coast.
Six-time winner Karrie Webb shot a 73 to tie for 30th at 3 under.