Bubba Watson claimed his third U.S. PGA Tour victory in the past 10 months by beating Webb Simpson on the second playoff hole at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Watson, 32, made consecutive birdies at the TPC Louisiana at Avondale’s par-5 18th hole during the playoff, including a four-foot putt that clinched the win and $1.12 million.
Watson picked up his first PGA Tour golf title in a playoff at last year’s Travelers Championship and in January captured the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines by beating Phil Mickelson with a birdie on the final hole.
“Somehow I won the first one and somehow now I’ve got three,” Watson said during a news conference. “A year ago I was a good player who never won, and now I’ve got three under my belt. It’s something that I could never dream of.”
Watson and Simpson finished 15-under par -- two shots better than Jason Dufner and Tommy Gainey -- after shooting rounds of 3-under 69 yesterday.
They went to the playoff shortly after Simpson took a one-shot penalty at the 15th green, where he told a PGA Tour rules official the wind moved his ball about a half-inch as he went to tap it in for a par from five inches away.
“I don’t think it’s a good rule,” said Simpson, who is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. “When wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn’t be penalized. Who knows if that happened or what would happen. It was just unfortunate. But Bubba deserves a win.”
The 25-year-old Simpson also finished second at the Transitions Championship in March.
The PGA Tour now moves to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the $6.5 million Wells Fargo Championship, which is scheduled to begin May 5 at the Quail Hollow Club. Tiger Woods will skip the tournament because of knee and Achilles injuries he sustained at last month’s Masters Tournament.
The tournament is the last on the schedule before the Players Championship, the tour’s flagship event.