Mar 26, 2018: On Sunday in Austin, Texas – it looked as if Stephen Ames was going to have company in the unwanted record books at the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play.
Bubba Watson’s dominance early in the final at Austin Country Club over fellow University of Georgia alum Kevin Kisner – where he won the opening five holes – had everyone scrambling for the record books for largest wins.
To be fair, most remember Tiger Woods giving Ames a 9 and 8 belting in the opening round of the 2006 tournament … but could Watson reach the almost mythical 10 and 8?
The short answer is no – instead he settled for a 7 and 6 result – but it could have quite easily been more. Watson had legitimate chances to win the first 10 straight holes – and did win seven of them.
It was a Bubba blitz of epic proportions – a combination of good golf and a tired opponent.
It stands as a new record for a winning margin in an 18-hole final – with Woods’ 8-and-6 win over Stewart Cink in 2008 coming when the final was played over 36 holes.
“I really don’t think it was pressure,” Watson said of Kisner’s performance.
“I think it was just energy. I don’t think I scared him on the first tee. I think it was just his energy was gone after a couple of holes. And he was fighting, but just didn’t have the fight that he really wanted and needed.”
Kisner had gone 19 holes in his semifinal against Alex Noren, a grinding match he probably should have lost, but showed great guts to win.
Watson needed just 16 holes to oust Justin Thomas and had a comfortable lead for most of that match, expending much less physical and mental energy.
“I don’t know what was going on. It was just pitiful. I couldn’t hit anywhere close to where I was trying,” Kisner lamented.
“Long week. A little tired, probably. Lose some legs, and just didn’t have it. And finally made a few good swings coming in, but those were too little, too late.”
In the final, Watson opened with five straight wins – the first player to do so all week.
It all began with a birdie for him on the opening hole, setting the tone for the match.
He even had a short putt to make it six in a row but proved human by missing on the low side.
Another win on the seventh hole had him firing again and the now 11-time PGA TOUR winner had looks from 18 and 14 feet on the eighth and ninth, respectively, to win those holes only to let them slip.
Another birdie on 10 followed before Kisner slightly delayed the inevitable with a long-range birdie and win on the 11th.
Another Watson birdie on the 12th hole secured his second career WGC title and second TOUR win this season.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Watson said after moving to fourth in the FedExCup.
“You don’t think about lists or anything, you just think about trophies and trying to win. And having two majors, and now having two World Golf Championships … the closest things to majors … what an honor and a privilege, overwhelming sensation to know that I have another trophy at the house.”