One That Counts

Patrons pack the bowl surrounding the famous 18th green to watch the leaders finish Sunday afternoon’s final round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Australian Adam Scott Wins Genesis Invitational by Two Strokes at Riviera Country Club

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

When his par putt dropped on the final hole Sunday at Riviera Country Club,  Adam Scott looked up and shot his right fist skyward, relieved that this time his win at one of golf’s most prestigious venues actually counts.

Scott beat Chad Campbell in a playoff at Riviera in 2005 to earn a victory at what was then called the Nissan Open, but it didn’t qualify as an official win as rain forced the event to be shortened to 36 holes.

Adam Scott raises his fist after sinking his par putt on the 18th green to clinch the Genesis Invitational crown.

“It feels really good—I mean, that’s fun to poke fun at the thing  in ‘05, but it’s 15 years ago so I moved on from that by now,” said the 39-year-old Australian, who took the lead for good on the back nine Sunday and made just enough  clutch putts to claim a two-stroke triumph with a final-round 70 for his 14th PGA TOUR title. “It’s incredibly satisfying to win a tournament of this stature on a golf course of this stature. It was incredibly enjoyable just being here with the weather like this, the course in perfect condition and a great field. Even better to come out  on top and have your game  really tested.”      

Scott earned his second straight victory, having won the Australian PGA Championship in December, and vaulted to No. 16  in the FedExCup standings while pocketing a winner’s share of $1.674 milllon.

“I had a little bit of the mindset  not just today but the whole week  of not careless but a

Dustin Johnson, who won by five shots at Riviera three years ago, tied for 10th with Talor Gooch and Chez Reavie.

‘what have I got to lose’ kind of thing going, give myself a good chance to get back in the winner’s circle on the PGA TOUR,” said Scott, who drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th to carry a two-shot lead to the 18th tee. “Yeah, I wanted to birdie 17, absolutely! Getting the driver in play made it a birdie hole for me. I didn’t hit a particularly good second shot into 17, the lie wasn’t very good and I had to play out to the left, but it was a great putt—almost a winning putt at that point. So that was a nice one to make and it gave me a very comfortable walk up the 18th  once my drive was up the top of the hill.” 

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland carded a final-round 73 to tie for fifth with four other players.

     

The title was up for grabs most of the afternoon with nearly a dozen players having a chance to win and five holding a share of the lead.

As it always does, Riviera challenged players’ resolve and resiliency. Scott made his share of mistakes—including a double  bogey at No. 5—but he bounced right back with an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 sixth to regain a share of the lead he woud never relinquish.

Matt Kuchar, Sung Kang and Scott Brown finished in a three-way tie for second at 9-under par.Rory McIlroy was tied for the lead before a triple bogey at No. 5.

Sung Kang fired a 69 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who entered the event No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking, tied for fifth at -8.

“It was one hard day out there,” said Kuchar, who held a share of the lead after each of the first three days. “It’s tricky, knowing that I didn’t have my best stuff but I’m proud of the way I kind of held up and managed around this golf course. There are weeks where you really have it, you’re in control and you think the game’s easy. The game wasn’t easy this week. I was able to make the most of what I had.”

Scott became the first international winner of the L.A. tour stop since fellow Aussie Aaron Baddeley won in 2011.

Tiger Woods is winless at Riviera.

Tournament host and two-time runner-up Tiger Woods finished 68th in his 14th start at the event. He eagled his first hole on Thursday but struggled thereafter and finished at +11. Brown posted his third runner-up finish on the PGA TOUR and second at Riviera. After a birdie on his final hole Friday to make the cut, Hideki Matsuyama shot 64-69  to tie for fifth. Harold Varner III tied for 13th in his bid to join Cameron Champ as the only Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption recipients to win on the TOUR.

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