New York (AFP) – Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson fired a seven-under par 63 Sunday to chase down Britain’s Paul Casey and win the US PGA Travelers Championship by three strokes.
The 39-year-old American took his 12th career US PGA title and third Travelers crown, having also won at the Cromwell, Connecticut, layout in 2010 and 2015.
Watson also become the first three-time US PGA winner this year after having taken titles at Riviera in February and the WGC Match-Play Championship in March.
Watson dropped his approach 2 1/2 feet from the cup at 18 then sank the putt for his eighth birdie of the day against a lone bogey to finish 72 holes on 17-under 263.
“That shot on 18, downwind, it was a difficult shot,” Watson said. “I did everything I could to make it stop and somehow it worked out.”
Watson, who fired the lowest last round by any US PGA winner this season, rallied from six strokes down when the day began just as he had done in the event in 2010 to win his first US PGA title.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Watson said. “You can’t really put it into words. To do this in front of this huge crowd is wonderful.”
Casey, who matched the lowest round of his career with a 62 on Saturday to start the day with a four-shot lead, fired a 72 to stumble into a four-way share of second on 266 with Americans J.B. Holmes, Beau Hossler and Stewart Cink.
“Incredibly frustrating,” Casey said. “There was a lot of fight in there but I fought my golf swing all day.
“You’ve got to give credit to Bubba — 63 is a great score. But I’ll go away and analyze this and see what I can improve.”
At the 13th hole, Casey’s tee shot went into water right of the fairway and moments later, Watson sank an 11-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th — his fifth birdie in seven holes — to match Casey for the lead at 16-under.
Casey recovered by sinking a 10-foot par putt to stay level for the lead with Watson, who missed birdie putts from beyond 20 feet at 16 and 17 but at 18, Watson’s tap-in birdie gave him the lead alone for good.
Casey, who made two birdies and an eagle at the 15th earlier in the week, found a fairway bunker and settled for par Sunday then missed a four-foot par putt and took a bogey at the par-3 16th.
He found the water off the 17th tee on his way to another bogey that ended his title hopes.
– Casey led early by five –
After sinking a 21-foot birdie putt on the opening hole to seize a five-stroke edge, Casey missed a four-footer to bogey the par-3 fifth, lifting a pack on 13-under within three of his lead.
Casey made narrow escapes at the par-3 eighth and par-4 10th holes, blasting out of a bunker to four feet and saving par on the front nine then starting the back side by driving the ball next to a tree before sinking a 28-foot par putt.
While Casey struggled, Watson charged. He followed a bogey at eight with four birdies in the next five holes to reach 15-under, one off the Englishman’s lead.
Watson’s birdie run included a 49-foot hole out at 10 after a five-footer at nine, then a 14-foot birdie putt at 12 and a six-footer at the par-5 13th.
– Cink shoots 62 –
Cink, the 2009 British Open champion, birdied six of the first seven holes in shooting 62.
“It all just came together today,” Cink said. “All areas of my game worked really well.”