Adam Scott (70) holds off Genesis field for first Tour win since 2016
It was a wild day on one of the PGA Tour’s most venerable layouts, but in the end it was Adam Scott who had just enough to conquer Riviera. Here’s how things ended up at the Genesis Invitational, where Scott held off a star-studded field to earn his first Tour win in nearly four years:
Leaderboard: Adam Scott (-11), Sung Kang (-9), Scott Brown (-9), Matt Kuchar (-9), Rory McIlroy (-8), Hideki Matsuyama (-8), Bryson DeChambeau (-8), Max Homa (-8), Joel Dahmen (-8)
What it means: Scott started the day in part of a three-way share of the lead, and he suffered an early stumble with a double bogey on the fifth hole. But the notoriously wobbly putter steadied his nerve down the stretch, burying birdie putts on Nos. 13 and 17 that proved to be the difference. Scott earned an unofficial victory at Riviera in 2005 when he won a 36-hole, rain-slogged event, but now he has an official title as part of his Riv credentials. It’s back-to-back worldwide wins for Scott across two calendar years, as the veteran closed out 2019 with a victory at the Australian PGA Championship. But after a number of recent near-misses, the Aussie now has his first PGA Tour win since March 2016, when he went back-to-back at Honda and Doral.
Round of the day: Birdies were hard to come by on Sunday, meaning that Brown’s 3-under 68 shared honors for low round of the day. The veteran is nearly seven years removed from his lone Tour title in Puerto Rico, but he earned a hefty paycheck thanks to a bogey-free back nine as he carded 68 for the third straight day.
Best of the rest: Scott’s 1-under 70 wasn’t the best in terms of raw score, but given the struggles of his playing partners and co-leaders, it’s deserving of praise. While McIlroy struggled (more on that below) and Kuchar went 16 holes in between birdies, Scott’s steady play allowed him to inch clear of a crowded leaderboard where nearly 10 players had a realistic chance to win down the stretch. Scott’s card included five birdies, two bogeys and the aforementioned double on No. 5 after he struggled behind the green.
Biggest disappointment: This is split two ways, as McIlroy went from co-leader and betting favorite to another puzzling result, shooting a 2-over 73 and salvaging a T-8 finish by knocking in a birdie on the final hole just before Scott hit the tournament’s final putt. The fatal blow came early for the Ulsterman, who like Scott got stuck behind the fifth green en route to a triple bogey. But tournament host Tiger Woods also deserves mention here after shooting 76-77 over the weekend. Woods seemed unstoppable en route to a front-nine 31 during the opening round, but he seemed woefully out of sorts over the final 36 holes and finished the week at 10 over, in last place among the 68 players who made the cut.
Shot of the day: Scott appeared like the man to beat for much of the afternoon, but it wasn’t until he buried an 11-foot birdie putt on the penultimate hole that he was able to breathe easy. Scott was nursing a one-shot lead and faced a precarious pitch over a yawning greenside bunker, but the subsequent up-and-down proved to be pivotal.
Quote of the day: “It’s a big step. Whatever point in my career I’m at and I hadn’t won for three years, and this feels very, very special.” – Scott