LA JOLLA, CA - Bubba Watson rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday to hold off Phil Mickelson and win the Farmers Insurance Open.
Watson posted a five-under 67 to finish at 16-under 272. He won by a single stroke over Mickelson, a third-round co-leader who shot a 69 on Sunday, and it came down to the final hole.
With Mickelson two behind, but in the 17th fairway, Watson waited to tee off on the par-five 18th hole at the South Course at Torrey Pines. It was a wise move by Watson. Mickelson knocked his approach to four feet, so Watson waited for the gallery to settle before he hammered one down the 18th.
Mickelson holed his birdie putt to get into a tie for second with Jhonattan Vegas, the PGA Tour rookie who won last week's Bob Hope Classic. Vegas was first to hit in the 18th fairway, but his approach sank just short of the green into the water.
Watson short-sided himself in a greenside bunker and that was no guarantee of an up-and-down birdie. Mickelson popped up his drive into the left rough, but still had enough to get home in two.
Watson played his bunker shot well left of the flagstick. The ball rolled down to 12 feet, but it was far from a gimme birdie.
Mickelson made a curious decision. Instead of waiting for Watson to putt, which would have let Mickelson know if he needed eagle or just birdie to tie, Mickelson laid up in the fairway.
Watson poured in his birdie shot to sign for his 67 and move two in front of Mickelson. Vegas bogeyed 18 to get in at 13-under, so it was down to Mickelson, a man known for his gambling style and interesting theater.
Knowing he needed to hole out for eagle, Mickelson sent his caddie the 72 yards to the hole to tend the flag in case his ball flirted with the hole.
"About 10, 12 times a year I hit the pin with a wedge and it usually ricochets off to the side," said Mickelson. "I wanted to give it every chance that I could."
His pitch landed just long of the cup and began to spin back, but it was not enough. Mickelson's approach stayed above ground and that gave Watson the title.
It was Watson's second PGA Tour win after last year's breakthrough at the Travelers Championship.
"It means a lot," Watson said in an emotional television interview. "Everyone is special. We don't know if you're going to have them or not. I'm probably going to cry all day just like I did last time."
Watson mixed six birdies and a bogey on Sunday. He took a two-shot lead after a 13-foot birdie putt at the 11th and maintained the cushion with a birdie at the par-five 13th.
Watson held on down the stretch, thanks in part to a great save at 17. He drove into the right bunker, then went long with his approach, but he chipped to nine feet and made the par save.
Then, Watson birdied the last to hold off Mickelson and Vegas for the win.
"It's hard every time you look at it," Watson said on television. "You've got Phil. You've got the guy who won last week, Vegas. Any bad step and they're going to catch you. All I thought about today was keeping my head down and playing my game."
Vegas finished with a four-under 68 and tied for third place with Dustin Johnson, who carded a six-under 66 on Sunday. The pair came in at 13-under 275.
Tiger Woods, who has won seven times at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, continued his disappointing weekend. He struggled to a three-over 75 after his 74 on Saturday and tied for 44th at minus-one.
That was certainly Woods' worst finish at this event and also his worst season debut since he joined the PGA Tour.
"I hit a lot of good shots early in the week, and then it progressively got worse," said Woods. "So I have a week to get ready and got a lot of work to do."
Woods will play in Dubai in two weeks.
D.A. Points shot a five-under 67 and took fifth at 12-under 276.
Nick Watney played the back nine first on Sunday and torched it for an eight- under 28. He finished with a nine-under 63 and shared sixth with Anthony Kim (72) and Hunter Mahan (73) at minus-10.
Bill Haas shared the third-round lead with Mickelson, but a three-over 75 dropped him into a share of ninth with Troy Matteson (67), Marc Leishman (69) and Brandt Snedeker (70). The group tied at nine-under 279.
NOTES: Watson pocketed $1,044,000 for the victory ... Mickelson won this title three times, but hasn't visited the winner's circle here since 2001 and hasn't won at all since last year's Masters ... Vegas leads the FedExCup standings and is the first rookie to ever lead that list ... The tour heads to Arizona next week for the Phoenix Open, where Hunter Mahan closed with a 65 last year to beat Rickie Fowler by a single stroke.