Story By: Deborah Leung
Photos By: Benjamin Rogers
Adam Scott faced a daunting challenge, a six-shot deficit with 13 holes remaining on a course that was playing tougher than it had at any point this week.
And after overcoming that, he needed to survive two brushes with big trouble on the final hole to finish the job.
Scott won for the second straight week, shooting a final-round 69 to win the Cadillac Championship by one shot over Bubba Watson. It’s the second win for Scott in a World Golf Championships event, his 13th career win on the PGA Tour and he now hasn’t finished lower than second in any of his last three starts.
Scott finished the week at 12-under 276. Watson was alone in second, and Danny Willett (69) and Rory McIlroy (74) were tied for third, two shots back.
With course owner Donald Trump popping in on Sunday, arriving by helicopter and greeting fans as he drove around in a cart, there was plenty of drama away from the fairways and greens.
Scott ensured there was a ton on the grass as well, after two double-bogeys in a three-hole span on the front side seemed to send his round into a tailspin. That is, until he got hot at just the right time.
It’s anyone’s guess if Scott will get a chance to defend the title at Doral in 2017. General Motors’ sponsorship agreement with the event ends this week and with no sponsor, there’s no tournament.
“Our hope is that the future could allow us to stay here and continue to build the tournament,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday afternoon, meeting with reporters before sitting down privately with Trump to talk about the tournament’s future. “But we’ll have more to say about that after we do a full evaluation of our performance this year.”
Scott saved par — and perhaps his win — on the par-4 16th, after his drive went over the green and nestled in a bunker. His second shot was dreadful, finding a patch of greenside rough. From there he popped a chip 8 feet past the hole, then calmly rolled in the par putt to keep what was a one-shot lead at the time over Willett.
That wasn’t the last of Scott’s trouble.
His tee ball on 17 found a bunker while Watson, on the green ahead, made birdie to get within one. Scott eventually saved par, headed to the final hole with that one-shot lead — and promptly put his tee shot in the right rough, a skinny palm tree impeding his path to the green. So he went left, around the tree but toward the water, and that shot somehow caught enough thick grass on a sharp slope to stop before getting wet.
“I was so lucky for it to stay up inside the hazard line,” Scott said. “When you’re that lucky, you better get them up and down.”
That’s exactly what he did. Scott chipped to 6 feet, made the par putt and moments later knew the win was his.
“I can’t believe I’ve won back-to-back weeks,” Scott said. “To win a World Golf Championship is huge again.”
Watson has now finished second or third at Doral four times in the last five years. He made eagle at the par-5 8th to get into real contention Sunday, but his big mistake was a bogey on the par-4 14th. He couldn’t get up-and-down from a greenside bunker, Scott made birdie on the same hole just a few minutes later, and that two-shot swing proved critical.
“I gave it a good effort,” Watson said. “What I’m working on in my head is working out. Right now, I’ve got the energy and the mind-set to play some decent golf, so very positive, very happy about the week and what took place.”
Doral Notes: McIlroy, who came into the day with a three-shot lead, didn’t make a birdie until the 16th hole. … J.B. Holmes, who had a final-round meltdown last year in which he wasted a five-shot lead by shooting 75, had another Sunday to forget at Doral. He shot 80 and finished the week 13 over. … Victor Dubuisson found something not to his liking late in his final round, as he gave his golf bag a few whacks with a club, then kicked it for good measure. Dubuisson shot 72 Sunday, finishing the week 9 over. … Only seven of the 65 players avoided making at least one double-bogey this week.