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2016 Northern Trust Open results: Bubba Watson wins at Riviera again

With the Masters less than 50 days away, Bubba Watson sends an early-season reminder that he's still here with all the young guns who seem to dominate the coverage these days.

Harry How/Getty Images

In our persistent quest to hype up the young generation that has overtaken the game of golf, we often forget just how damn good Bubba Watson is. Those young guns are definitely the dominant narrative -- whether it's a "Big Four" or some other indeterminate number -- but it leaves Bubba, maybe the game's most unique talent, out of the discussion simply because he's just a few years older.

Watson fired another early-season reminder on Sunday in Los Angeles that he's among the top four or five players in the world, winning the Northern Trust Open for the second time in three years. When he won at Riviera in 2014, he went on to win the Masters a couple months later and finished with the best season of his career, one he continually called the "Year of Rejoicing." We like to get on Bubba, often justifiably because he's so unnecessarily grumpy, but only Rory has been better over the last five years.

Bubba did not do anything too spectacular on Sunday -- there was no wild or memorable shot as he so often authors during these wins. There were, of course, the flashy drives with the completely unorthodox swing motion.

But no major hole-out, putt, or turning point -- he simply outlasted a loaded leaderboard around him and then chased down Jason Kokrak over the final four holes. An inward 2-under 34 was enough. He started with a narrow lead over a world-class set of bombers that included McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Adam Scott. The Aussie Scott would prove to be the biggest challenger throughout the day, starting hot, then going cold with the putter, and then chipping in on the 18th to apply some last-minute pressure.

Kokrak played next to Bubba and had the edge on him until that final stretch, but he'd never won on Tour and had never really been in this position. It showed down the stretch and the decorated Bubba took advantage, flipping from two shots down to one ahead in just three holes, Nos. 15 through 17. He stuffed it close at the 18th to eliminate Scott, who needed a Bubba bogey, while Kokrak needed to make a birdie of his own. That just about sealed it.

Bubba should be among the two or three favorites at Augusta every year. The course just sets up perfectly for him. He may never come close to winning the other three majors, but he should contend annually at the Masters and add to those two green jackets he already possesses.

At Riviera, a historic and classic setup, Bubba bombs away and it's not even about hitting the fairways. Bubba said as much on Friday, indicating the angles, which he's mastered at Riv, are more important than being in the fairway. He knows those exact spots and angles at Augusta too, and with a win already up on the board he'll roll into that familiar spot with even more confidence as he tries to repeat the Riv-Augusta double from 2014. We'll be fixated on the young guys -- Spieth, Rory, Rickie, Day, et al. -- but Bubba is probably the scariest guy in the field.

Here are your final results from Riviera:

Place Player Score Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Total
1 Bubba Watson -15 66 68 67 68 269
T2 Adam Scott -14 68 68 67 67 270
T2 Jason Kokrak -14 68 64 70 68 270
4 Dustin Johnson -13 68 66 68 69 271
T5 Marc Leishman -12 68 67 68 69 272
T5 K.J. Choi -12 69 67 67 69 272
7 Chez Reavie -11 66 67 69 71 273
T8 Matt Kuchar -10 69 69 69 67 274
T8 Sung-hoon Kang -10 70 69 66 69 274
10 Ryan Moore -9 69 68 69 69 275
T11 Martin Laird -8 68 70 69 69 276
T11 J.B. Holmes -8 71 66 69 70 276
T11 Steve Stricker -8 71 68 67 70 276
T11 Troy Merritt -8 68 66 70 72 276
T11 Hideki Matsuyama -8 69 67 68 72 276
T16 Ben Martin -7 73 68 67 69 277
T16 Adam Hadwin -7 70 70 71 66 277
T16 Justin Leonard -7 67 69 70 71 277
T16 Justin Rose -7 69 68 69 71 277
T20 Seung-yul Noh -6 70 71 68 69 278
T20 William McGirt -6 70 69 71 68 278
T20 Jamie Lovemark -6 69 70 70 69 278
T20 Luke List -6 66 70 75 67 278
T20 Tyrone van Aswegen -6 68 72 67 71 278
T20 Rory McIlroy -6 67 69 67 75 278
T26 Gary Woodland -5 71 69 69 70 279
T26 Nick Taylor -5 70 68 72 69 279
T26 Aaron Baddeley -5 71 68 70 70 279
T26 Ricky Barnes -5 67 70 71 71 279
T26 Harold Varner III -5 74 68 66 71
T26 Carlos Ortiz -5 72 68 71 68 279
T26 Kyle Reifers -5 68 68 71 72 279
T26 Ernie Els -5 74 67 70 68 279
T26 Stuart Appleby -5 70 69 73 67 279
T26 Jon Curran -5 71 67 69 72 279
T26 Kevin Chappell -5 68 69 66 76 279
T37 Spencer Levin -4 73 69 68 70 280
T37 Camilo Villegas -4 63 74 70 73 280
T39 David Toms -3 70 72 67 72 281
T39 Harris English -3 68 70 70 73 281
T39 Scott Brown -3 71 69 68 73 281
T39 Anirban Lahiri -3 72 67 69 73 281
T39 Brendan Steele -3 70 67 68 76 281
T39 Paul Casey -3 73 69 71 68 281
T45 Stewart Cink -2 70 71 68 73 282
T45 Charl Schwartzel -2 68 68 73 73 282
T45 Fabian Gomez -2 72 69 69 72 282
T45 Luke Donald -2 68 72 71 71 282
T45 Vijay Singh -2 70 69 72 71 282
T45 Padraig Harrington -2 71 70 66 75 282
T45 Retief Goosen -2 68 72 73 69 282
T52 Francesco Molinari -1 69 71 70 73 283
T52 Patton Kizzire -1 70 69 75 69 283
T54 Jamie Donaldson E 69 72 69 74 284
T54 Justin Thomas E 70 72 66 76 284
T54 Derek Fathauer E 71 70 70 73 284
T54 Billy Horschel E 68 72 72 72 284
T54 Mark Hubbard E 75 67 71 71 284
T59 Ben Crane 1 67 74 70 74 285
T59 Will MacKenzie 1 69 73 70 73 285
T59 Chris Stroud 1 69 71 73 72 285
T59 Carl Pettersson 1 71 71 71 72 285
T63 Andrew Loupe 2 70 72 68 76 286
T63 Charley Hoffman 2 71 69 73 73 286
T63 Cameron Smith 2 72 70 71 73 286
T66 J.J. Henry 3 69 71 70 77 287
T66 Chad Collins 3 73 68 69 77 287
T68 Cameron Tringale 4 72 66 70 80 288
T68 Andy Sullivan 4 71 71 71 75 288
T68 Morgan Hoffmann 4 70 72 71 75 288
T68 Jason Dufner 4 70 71 73 74 288
T72 Brian Harman 5 70 72 70 77 289
T72 Mark Wilson 5 71 71 73 74 289
T72 Charlie Danielson 5 67 72 73 77 289
75 Charles Howell III 6 67 75 73 75 290
76 Rhein Gibson 7 72 70 72 77 291