Bubba Watson won his second PGA Tour title when he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Torrey Pines, beating Phil Mickelson in the process.
The big-hitting Watson made clutch putts on the final two holes for a 5-under 67 before Mickelson had the chance to beat him if he made an eagle at the 18th. But he pulled a poor lie off the tee, had to lay up on the par 5 and parred it to finish a shot behind.
Mickelson tapped in for birdie and a 69, a score he thought would be enough to win at Torrey Pines for the first time in 10 years. Instead, he found himself chasing Watson and Jhonattan Vegas, the Venezuela rookie who won the Bob Hope Classic last week and had another chance to win until his 5-iron on the final hole found the water.
"Bubba played some terrific golf," Mickelson said. "I did what I thought would be enough, and it just wasn't. Bubba played too good. He made great shot after great shot, and made putt after putt. It was a wonderful round for him."
Watson hit such a monstrous drive on the par-5 13th that he had wedge left to the green on the 525-yard hole. But he won the tournament with his putter, especially on the last two holes.
With a one-shot lead over Vegas, and Mickelson lurking, Watson hit out of a fairway bunker and over the green on the 17th, and his chip raced 10 feet past the hole. After badly missing two birdies putts inside 10 feet, this one was pure.
Then came the 18th, where Watson blasted another tee shot and had a 7-iron into the green. He pushed that long and left, into a bunker and leaving himself another downhill shot. This came out ideally, leaving himself a 12-foot birdie putt that was true.
Then it was Mickelson's turn - except that he already had taken it.
"I thought he was going for it," Watson said. "When I looked back down the fairway and I made the putt, I didn't want to get too excited because I thought it was him going for it. I didn't know he had already laid up."
It was a tough loss for Mickelson, especially with his wife, Amy, in the gallery for all four rounds for the first time since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009. Her prospects are looking up, and so are Mickelson's - with his arthritis issues, and his game.
"I'm disappointed," Mickelson said. "I wanted to start the year off with a win. On the other hand, I played really good golf."
His runner-up finish will be enough to move to No. 4 in the world.
Watson finished at 16-under 272 for his second victory, although this one came against a much stronger field than his playoff win at the Travelers Championship last summer.
"It showed I can do it," he said. "I've done it twice now. I'm only 50 behind Phil and about 80 behind Tiger. So they better watch out."