It took Bubba Watson just 12 holes to down Kevin Kisner 7&6 in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final, for his second title in five weeks.
Watson ended a two-year winless drought at the Genesis Open last month and progressed past world-number-two Justin Thomas in Sunday’s semi-final to make the final at Austin Country Club.
The opening five holes of the final set the tone for the entire match; Watson started with a birdie to move 1UP and his three consecutive pars that followed were enough to move 4UP through four holes as Kisner went bogey-bogey-bogey.
If Kisner was to comeback, he would have to act quickly. That was not how things would play out, though. Off the tee at the short par-four fifth, Watson rocketed a 343-yard drive to the green-side. Kisner went wayward right and, unable to recover, had to concede the hole and move to 5DOWN through as many holes.
With pars apiece on the par-five sixth Kisner got his first taste of a half of a hole. His minor redemption did not last long though, as he fired his fifth bogey-or-worse to gift Watson a 6UP advantage with only 11 holes remaining.
The next two were halved as Watson made the turn 6UP. And just when Kisner thought the tides could be turning after holing a putt from off the green for par on the 10th, Watson sunk his 12-foot birdie effort to move 7UP with just eight to play.
As Kisner took his first skin of the game with a birdie-two on the 11th, the modest crowds at Austin Country Club showed their sympathy with the loudest cheer of the day. With seven holes remaining, Kisner was back to 6DOWN, but still in need of a miracle.
It all came to a head on the 12th hole, though. The duo matched each other virtually shot-for-shot for the first three efforts. Kisser’s 13-foot birdie attempt then slipped by, and Watson made sure the match went no further by sinking his seven-footer to clinch it with six holes remaining.
Watson ran out entirely unscathed all week, seeing off Branden Grace and Marc Leishman whilst halving with Julian Suri in the group stages before passing Brian Harman, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thomas and finally Kisner for his biggest title since the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions.