Adam Scott held his nerve to seal a two-shot victory and defeat a star-studded field in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.
In what was the first fully stacked field of the year, Scott stayed the distance better than his rivals on a tough final day to finish on 11-under par, two shots clear of Sung Kang, Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar as the trio tied for second.
It was Scott’s first win on the PGA Tour in almost four years since the Australian won the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March 2016, although he did lift the Australian PGA Championship title in December last year for his most recent victory.
Adam Scott started with a share of the lead with playing partner Kuchar, but took the outright lead after gaining two early shots. However, he gave three shots back in successive holes as a bogey was followed by a double.
In a rollercoaster start, he then birdied the sixth to get things back on track with a tussle with Kuchar looking on the cards. But, having shared the lead for most of the rest of the afternoon, a birdie on the 17th gave Scott a two-shot lead which he held onto with a closing par and a one-under par final round.
“It’s amazing,” Adam Scott said. “I’ve loved this place since Day 1. It was tough out there today. I’m stoked for this. It’s a big step for me.’’
He added: “Yeah, I wanted to birdie 17, absolutely. Getting the driver in play made it a birdie hole for me. I knew I would be a lot more comfortable on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead than a one-shot lead. And that putt is almost a winning putt, I feel, at that point. So that was a nice one to make and it gave me a very comfortable kind of walk up the 18th once my drive was up the top of the hill.”
Kuchar finished one-over par and had to settle for a share of second with Brown and Kang, who finished with three-under par and two-under par final rounds.
Rory McIlroy, who returned to the world number one spot heading into the Genesis Invitational, blew his chances of victory with a two-over par final round to finish fifth overall, three shots back from Scott.
McIlroy’s closing round included a triple bogey, and the Northern Irishman said: “Yeah, honestly, I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. But everyone was finding it tough out there.
“It was definitely the toughest day of the week. The wind was up and hole locations were in tricky spots. Adam held on well at the end. The birdie on 17 sort of sealed the deal for him.”
Tiger Woods has never won the Genesis Invitational and that remains the case after a nightmare weekend for the 15-time major winner.
Woods finished six-over par on a tough final day to end on 11-over par for the week and in last place of the 68 players who made the cut. He could look on the bright side of things when he said: “Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways. But overall, I’m done.”