Nick Watney had every reason to see nothing but trouble as he stood on the 18th tee at Doral, a tough tee shot in any circumstance, let alone with a World Golf Championship on the line.
History was hardly on his side Sunday at the Cadillac Championship in Miami.
Two years ago, he lost a duel with Phil Mickelson by one turn of the ball on his final putt the day after he lost focus and pulled his tee shot into the water to make double bogey and lose the lead.
Given another chance, Watney seized it.
Never miss a local story.
He belted his tee shot down the middle, fired an 8-iron over the lake and sank a 12-foot birdie putt for a two-shot victory over Dustin Johnson at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Watney said. “I really wanted to take care of business and to grasp this opportunity. I actually love that feeling; you don’t get it too often. But I really love to be ... yeah, I guess I was a little nervous.
“But it’s fun,” he said when the laughter subsided. “That’s why you play. ...”
The biggest win of his career was worth $1.4 million and puts him in the conversation of top American players.
Watney closed with a 5-under 67, including the birdie he thought was important with Johnson behind him in the 18th fairway after a big drive of his own. Johnson hit a 9-iron that settled 8 feet from the hole. Typical of his final round, he missed it and shot 71.
“I did everything I wanted to do, and just couldn’t get it in the hole,” Johnson said.
BRADLEY WINS 4TH
Michael Bradley took advantage of Troy Matteson’s short par miss on the first extra hole to win the Puerto Rico Open for the second time in three years.
The 44-year-old Bradley closed with his fourth straight 4-under 68 to match Matteson (72) at 16-under 272 at Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, then parred the par-5 18th in the playoff for his fourth PGA Tour win.
PRICE EDGES WIEBE
Nick Price, who opened the Toshiba Classic with a record-tying 11-under 60, held off Mark Wiebe by a stroke for his fourth career Champions Tour title.
The 54-year-old Price closed with consecutive 68s at Newport Beach, Calif., to finish at 17-under 196. Wiebe closed with a 67.
Tracking Andres gonzales
This week: PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open, Trump International Golf Club, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Fourth-round score: 2-over-par 74.
Position: Gonzales (1-under 287) tied for 59th and earned $7,665. He finished 15 shots behind Michael Bradley (272), who defeated Troy Matteson on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Recap: Gonzales climbed to 212th on the money list at $15,805.
Todd Milles, staff writer