Bubba Watson took down Justin Thomas and then Kevin Kisner to win his second World Golf Championships.
A number of players will enter Augusta National brimming with confidence on the strength of past successes and recent form. Phil Mickelson comes to mind. So does Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas, and, of course, Tiger Woods. It's time to add another name to that list: Bubba Watson.
Watson, a two-time Masters winner, played terrifically all week and punctuated a victory at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a dominant 7&6 win over Kevin Kisner in the championship match. It's Watson's second World Golf Championship title and his second win on Tour this season, following his February triumph at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles.
Thomas entered Sunday with a chance to become world No. 1 with a win over Watson in the semifinals, but Watson played nearly flawless golf to delay the 24-year-old American's seemingly inexorable ascent to the top spot. Watson seized the lead with a birdie on the first hole and added three more and an eagle, his third of the week, and Thomas simply wasn't at his best. That all added up to a 3&2 victory for Watson, which insures that Dustin Johnson's reign as the top-ranked player will extend at least to the Masters.
Next up for Watson was Kisner in what was an all University of Georgia final. Kisner, perhaps worn down from this grueling format that requires its champion to play seven rounds in five days, made four bogeys in a row early to fall five behind after the fifth hole. After Kisner won his only hole of the match with a birdie at 11, Watson ended the match with a birdie on the par-5 12th. Kisner will take a lot of positives from this week, including his semifinal win over Sweden's Alex Noren, a match he won with a par on the 19th hole.
Noren would go on to top Thomas 5&3 in the consolation match.
The next stop for Watson is Augusta, a course that suits his game nicely. Watson loves to shape the ball both ways, a strategy that plays well on Augusta's undulated fairways and greens. He won in 2012 and 2014 but did the miss the cut at the event last year, while he was in the midst of a disappointing 2017 season. This time around, he will head to Augusta with two wins under his belt and a legitimate chance to slip on his third green jacket.