In his first 40 starts in Florida-based TOUR events from 2000-2015, Scott had one win – but it was a biggie (2004 The Players Championship). This year, he’s two for two, winning on consecutive weeks. Not since Tiger Woods in 2001 has a player won back-to-back weeks in Florida. It’s also the first time since Billy Horschel won the final two FedExCup Playoffs events in 2014 that a TOUR winner has won on consecutive weeks.
On the surface, last week’s win at The Honda Classic and this week’s win at Trump National Doral seem somewhat similar. Scott bounced back from a quadruple bogey in the third round last week at PGA National, and had to bounce back from two double bogeys in Sunday’s round.
But Scott said the two wins were achieved via different methods. He felt more under control last week, noting that one hooked drive accounted for that quad. This week, on a tougher course, he had to battle more and shake off a handful of bad shots. It was scramble mode for most of the day.
“I thought it was really solid stuff last week,” Scott said. “Today was a little bit different. There were some ugly shots and some ugly results.”
Fortunately for Scott, one ugly shot did not lead to an ugly result. His approach at the final hole could’ve cost him the tournament had the ball not hung up in the rough instead of dribbling into the water. It allowed him to get up-and-down to save par and avoid a playoff with Bubba Watson.
“That’s winner’s luck, really,” Scott said. “Those things even out over a long period of time where at some point, I would have hit that shot and it’s bounced back in and you don’t win, and other times it stays up and you do. To take advantage of it feels really good.
Bubba in prime Masters shape: Four years ago, Bubba Watson finished second at Trump National Doral and won the Masters a month later. Two years ago, Watson tied for second at Doral and won the Masters a month later.
Is his solo second this week a foreshadowing of a third Masters win?
“It means absolutely nothing,” Watson said, knocking down that theory.
Still, he’s in a very good groove right now, having followed up his Northern Trust Open win two weeks ago with another solid effort. But being hot right now doesn’t mean he’ll stay that way by the time he arrives at Augusta.
“I have a lot of confidence but Augusta is still a long way away,” he said. “You don’t know how you’re going to wake up or what’s going to happen the next two days or next month before we get to Augusta.”
Even so, at least one person thinks Watson will be the man to beat. Asked if he was the Masters favorite, Scott replied: “No, I think Bubba is.”
Rory stumbles on Sunday: At one point early in the final round, 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy led by four shots. But there was one problem — he couldn’t make a birdie.
In fact, McIlroy’s first – and only birdie – of the day came at the 16th hole. By then, he had suffered three bogeys and had fallen out of the lead. Unable to generate anything substantial, McIlroy eventually shot a 2-over 74 (highest score by anybody in the top 10) and finished tied for third.
It was the second time in three starts that McIlroy has failed to take advantage of a Sunday opportunity. At the Northern Trust Open, he held the lead with 16 holes to go, but ended up shooting 75.
“To not get the job done in either of those instances is very frustrating,” McIlroy said. “… I just need to figure out what I’m doing in these final rounds and try to rectify it.”
However, McIlroy said he will take some positives from this week, including the transition to a left-hand low putting grip that served him well for most of the week.
Odds and ends: For the week, Phil Mickelson was 12 under on the front nine at Trump National Doral and 3 over on the back nine. He stepped onto the 10th tee having made consecutive birdies, but found the water with his tee shot. He salvaged a bogey but would never make another run, eventually finishing fifth. He now has three top-5s in six starts this season. …
Danny Willett has three top-3 finishes in World Golf Championships events within the last 12 months. He stepped onto the tee at the 18th hole needing a birdie to catch Scott, but instead found the water. “I think last year I whiffed it way right in the trees,” Willett said. “We were trying to hit the correct golf shot, and unfortunately it didn’t come off.”…
Three players managed sub-par rounds all four days – Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman. The latter was making his first World Golf Championships start.
Louis Oosthuizen shot a one-over-par 73 on Sunday to finsih the tournament tied for 14th, while Charl Schwartzel shared 17th and Branden Grace 23rd.
From PGA Tour