Harold Varner III dropped a 90-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to claim a thrilling one-shot victory over Bubba Watson at the Saudi International.
Varner, who entered Sunday clinging to a one-shot lead, remained in the pole position after playing his first 13 holes in 1 under, mixing a birdie with 12 pars. But a poor three-hole stretch (Nos. 14-16) of double bogey-par-bogey saw the North Carolina native fall two off the lead of Bubba Watson, who eagled the 18th to post 64 and reach the clubhouse on 12 under.
Varner needed a birdie-birdie finish to force a playoff with Watson, or a birdie-eagle to win outright. He pulled off the latter scoring scenario, highlighted by a lengthy eagle putt, measuring about 90 feet.
“There’s been times where it just didn’t go my way, and today it did,” said Varner. “Worst-case scenario, we’ll go to a playoff and I’d get him there.
“And then it went in, and emotions came out.
“I love that.”
The win was Varner’s second of his golf career, with his other victory coming at the Australia PGA Championship. He will move inside the top 50 for the first time in his career.
Watson, who joined Varner on the green to congratulate him, finished alone in second.
“I’m not mad at him for beating me. I’m happy for him,” said Watson. “He’s a dear friend of mine, and I applaud him. I love seeing that.”
Spaniard Adri Arnaus struggled to a 71 to finish solo third on 10 under.
Saudi International Leaderboard
Top-10: Round 4
Pos-Player-Score (Rd 4)
1. Harold Varner III -13 (-1)
2. Bubba Watson -12 (-6)
3. Adri Arnaus -10 (+1)
4. Steve Lewton -9 (-3)
4. Cameron Smith -9 (-1)
6. Matthew Wolff -8 (-3)
6. Pablo Larrazabal -8 (-2)
8. Abraham Ancer -7 (-4)
8. Jon Vegas -7 (-4)
8. Joaquin Niemann -7 (-2)
8. Ryosuke Kinoshita -7 (E)
8. Dustin Johnson -7 (E)
8. Tommy Fleetwood -7 (+3)