Bubba Watson breaks proverbial glass ceiling to land place in world top 3
Two moments of magic secured a first victory at the WCG-HSBC Champions for Bubba Watson after a play-off with Tim Clark on a dramatic final day in Shanghai.
Watson led by two shots having three left to play, and then allowed himself to slip by bogeying the 16th and run up a double bogey on the 17th after failing to escape from a greenside bunker at the first time of asking.
One shot behind playing partners Tim Clarke and Rickie Fowler, as well as the final group of Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Hiroshi Iwata, Bubba looked to have sunk his own fleet.
Clark looked classy and seemed on course for pole position when he struck his third shot to the par five 18th to four feet and then watched Fowler find water and Watson a greenside bunker – leaving him a little breathing space to see out the contest.
However, Bubba wasn’t ready to call it a day and blasted an amazing bunker shot into the hole for an eagle, while Clark’s birdie was only good enough to leave the pair tied on 11 under, with the final group needing to birdie the last in order to join the play-off.
When the game cut back to the 18th bunker, Bubba told his caddie: “It's been a miserable couple holes here, but this will change everything if it goes in.”
Whether the 36-year-old had a good feeling about his shot or not, the delivery was first class, and one of best escape shots from sand we’ve ever seen. The play-off was well and truly on now.
“You always joke about holing it,” Watson said afterwards. “And then it actually went in. I didn't know how to react and so I just kind of screamed, and I lost my voice a little bit. It was one of those shots, a one-in-a-lifetime kind of shot. And so it was pretty neat.”
The drama didn’t last much longer as Watson put paid to his and Clark's hard work with a 2-foot putt to claim the title and the headlines. And it seems Bubba was pretty proud of his achievement.
“Being able to win outside the U.S., I just want to be able to travel and get through the jet lag, get through all the things and still perform at a high level,” he told reporters. “So for me to win out here, this is very big. This is very special for me.”