Adam Scott has ended a near-four-year title drought on the US PGA Tour with a two-shot victory at an Invitational tournament in Los Angeles — and this time it counts.
- Adam Scott last won a PGA Tour title at the World Golf Championship in 2016
- Scott claimed the Australian PGA title at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast in December
- Tiger Woods finished last of the players who made the cut
The 39-year-old survived a calamitous final round with just enough clutch putts — for birdie, par, even a bogey — and closed with 1-under 70 for a two-shot victory.
“I’m stoked with this,” Scott said.
“It’s a big step, whatever point in my career I’m at.
“I haven’t won for three years. This feels very special.”
It was his second straight victory — he last played three days before Christmas and won the Australian PGA.
The victory, his 14th on the PGA Tour, takes Scott back inside the world’s top 10 for the first time since June 2017 and puts him equal third for an Australian, level with Bruce Crampton and behind Greg Norman (20) and Jim Ferrier (18).
The victory comes 15 years after Scott won a playoff at Riviera that did not count as official because rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes.
Scott earned every bit of this victory. Nearly a dozen players had a chance to win. Five players had a share of the lead at some point.
Riviera was such a strong test that everyone made mistakes, including Scott.
He went long off the fifth green, had a flop shot come back to his feet, putted the next up the hill and made double bogey.
But he bounced back with a slick, scary 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 sixth to regain a share of the lead, and he never trailed the rest of the way.
Rory McIlroy was tied for the lead when he went long on the fifth, took two flop shots to get on the green and then compounded the error with a three-putt triple bogey.
The Northern Irishman never recovered. His tee shot on the par-3 sixth went on the wrong side of the bunker in the middle of the green, leading to another bogey. He closed with a 73 and tied for fifth.
Tiger Woods had his problems, too, but he was never in contention.
Woods played a five-hole stretch late in his round at 5 over and shot 77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut. It was the first time Woods has finished last alone since the Memorial in 2015.
“Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways,” Woods said.
Matt Kuchar, who started the final round tied with Scott and McIlroy, birdied the par-5 opening hole and didn’t make another until the 17th when it was too late. He shot 72 and tied for second with Sung Kang (69) and Scott Brown (68).
Scott put two shots’ daylight between him and his rivals with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th, and when he rapped in his par putt on the 18th, he stood back and thrust his right fist in the air.
This was a long time coming on the PGA Tour, and it came on his favourite course on the PGA Tour.