Bubba Watson a Masters contender after Match Play victory, says Mark Roe

Daily Texan Staff

Watson, the 35th seed, won the first five holes of the final and never looked back in taking his 11th US PGA title and second of the year after winning last month at Riviera.

Explaining the downturn in his fortunes, Thomas said: "I had a really hard time getting focused and being anxious about my match as opposed to things that can happen and thinking about potentially this afternoon [Sunday]".

"(There were) about four or five shots for the week where I wasn't committed, where I blanked out.

Victory has clearly boosted Watson's hope of becoming just a ninth player in the history of the game to win three or more Augusta National green jackets after winning the Masters in both 2012 and 2014.

"It comes from knowing I've got strength to hit the shots again", Watson said.

"Making the putts, having the physical strength, being healthy in your mind, you're going to have confidence".

Aphibarnrat was never ahead until the very end when the Thai 28th seed rolled in eight-foot birdies at the final two holes to snatch victory. "I could post a serious number", said Thomas. You have a chance to get the lead. Watson took out Justin Thomas in the semifinals, 3 and 2, which kept Thomas from reaching No. 1 in the world. "It's going to be nice to head to the Masters in really good form and I'm looking forward to it".

Kisner's match against 58th seed Poulter was one-sided from the start.

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"I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much", Thomas told reporters. "And that really sucked", Thomas said.

"(I was thinking) hopefully the putter will be rolling well the last couple of holes.

Four-time major champion McIlroy, playing in the third match of the day, was beaten 5&3 by Brian Harman at Austin Country Club while Spieth went down 2&1 to Ryder Cup partner Patrick Reed.

Kisner is intense on the course and exceedingly grounded away from competition, while Watson is prone to bouts of mental lapses during rounds and let's say, quirky behavior when he's not carving drives into the great beyond.

Thomas entered Sunday with a chance to become world No. 1 with a win over Watson in the semifinals, but Watson played almost flawless golf to delay the 24-year-old American's seemingly inexorable ascent to the top spot.

The difference was six at the turn and while Kisner got the biggest cheer of the day as he won the 11th with a lengthy putt, Watson birdied the next to complete a comprehensive victory. 13-15. Watson had 3 feet for birdie at No. 16 while Thomas was faced with a 22-footer.

"It's just one of those deals".

As Watson approached the sixth tee box, he turned to a reporter and said, "Hey, no matter what - I was beating No. 1 at one point". "I had this one (match) circled this week and I'm glad I came out and performed pretty well". He faced Kevin Kisner, who survived a 19-hole semifinal victory over Alex Noren. But the putt missed to the right, and we were on to a playoff.

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