Bubba Watson ends two-year drought with win at historic Riviera

Bubba Watson holds the winner's trophy after victory Bubba Watson holds the winner's trophy after victory in the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Reed Saxon

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - Bubba Watson has always been impressed with the history of Riviera Country Club, where Ben Hogan won a U.S. Open, celebrities from Humphrey Bogart to Dean Martin were members and Howard Hughes once took lessons.

It is a tournament once known as the Los Angeles Open that began in 1937 and through the years had winners such as Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Charlie Sifford and Tom Watson.

Now, after consecutive bogey-free rounds of 7-under-par 64 to finish the Northern Trust Open, Watson, with his first victory since the 2012 Masters, is part of that history.

He began Sunday's final round tied for sixth, four back of 54-hole leader William McGirt. Watson finished at 15-under 269, two shots ahead of Dustin Johnson (66), who also finished second last week at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Jason Allred and Brian Harman each shot 68s and tied for third at 12 under. Charl Schwartzel (68), the South African who won the 2011 Masters, was at 11 under. McGirt (73) tied for sixth at 274.

Two weeks ago, Watson bogeyed the final hole to lose the Phoenix Open by a shot to Kevin Stadler. After that crushing defeat, he began this tournament, located a mile from the Pacific in a costal canyon, at the 10th hole on Thursday. Watson's first three holes were double-bogey, birdie, double-bogey.

He made the cut of 1-over 143 by just two shots but played the final 39 holes in 14 under, without a bogey since the 15th hole Friday.

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"What an honor," said Watson, 35, after his fifth PGA Tour victory. "What a privilege, what a blessing; the history behind this golf tournament, the history behind some of the great names as champions here.

"This golf course, they haven't changed it much over the years. They don't trick it up. It just is what it is, and it's tough."

Standing above the green as Watson walked the 18th fairway toward a final birdie and cheers from the crowd packed on a hillside were his wife, Angie, and their 2-year-old adopted son, Caleb.

"You never know when your last win is going to be," Watson said when the two-year drought ended. "My last win could have been the Masters, which would have been a great way to go out."

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