Bubba Watson is in position to win the Northern Trust Open for a second time in three years. However, to do that on Sunday at Riviera, he’s going to have to hold off a trio of golf’s other biggest names.
Watson shot 4-under 67 in the third round on Saturday to take a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie and 36-hole leader Jason Kokrak. The two-time Masters winner’s 12-under 201 total has him two clear of five players, including Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, K.J. Choi, Marc Leishman and Kevin Chappell.
The Bagdad, Fla., native wasn’t particularly accurate off the tee in the third round, hitting less than half of the fairways. He also missed six greens. However, Watson only carded one bogey on the day against five birdies.
Watson took advantage of his length on the par 5s, making easy birdies out of each of the three on the course. The other two birdies came after dart-like approach shots inside of 9 feet.
However, it was a par save that kept Watson in the lead heading into Sunday. He missed well right of the green with his second into the 18th and has to play his third from near a scoreboard. Watson pulled off the tough shot, leaving himself a tricky 3-footer for par, which he holed.
Now the question for Watson is if he can make the rare conversion of a 54-hole lead into his ninth PGA Tour win. In his career, Watson is just 2-for-9 when he sleeps on a share of the Saturday night lead.
Going further against Watson’s chances? The Northern Trust Open winner in each of the last four years has trailed going into the final round.
LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Rory McIlroy flexes his muscle for Brandel Chamblee