Watson wins second Riviera tournament in three years

 22 Feb 2016 - 7:40

Watson wins second Riviera tournament in three years
 Bubba Watson reacts after making his putt on the 17th hole during the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2016 in Pacific Palisades, California. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Pacific Palisades, United States: Bubba Watson captured the Northern Trust Open for the second time in three years Sunday, emerging from a crowded leaderboard to win by just one stroke.

The two-time Masters winner now heads to the first major championship of the season in seven weeks looking for his third green jacket.

The 37-year-old American, who also won this USPGA Tour event in 2014, birdied two of his final three holes en route to a three-under 68 for a 15-under 269 total.

Watson's playing partner Jason Kokrak fell just short in his quest for his first win on the US Tour as he closed with a three-under 68 to finish at 14 under and in a tie for second with Adam Scott.

Australia's Scott birdied Nos. 17 and 18 en route to a four-under 67.

Scott chipped out from 25 feet on 18 for a birdie and looked for awhile like he could be headed to a playoff but Watson sealed the victory with two-foot putt on 18.

Heading into this year's event, seven of the past 15 tournaments at Riviera had gone into a sudden-death playoff.

Rory McIlroy's hopes of launching his Masters preparations with a victory fell apart however after the world number three from Northern Ireland fired a final round four-over-par 75.