Varner’s sensational Saudi International title

Harold Varner III sank an eagle putt from off the last green to wrest victory in the Saudi International from compatriot and friend Bubba Watson by one shot.
Watson started the day six shots off the pace but was outstanding in tough, windy conditions. He shot a 64 which finished with a birdie on the 17th hole and an eagle following a monster drive on the par-5 18th.

Varner’s sensational Saudi International title
That gave the two-time Masters champion the clubhouse lead at 12-under par 268 with overnight leader Varner still on the course.
Varner was two over for the day as he came to the 17th, but the 31-year-old matched Watson’s birdie on the par-4 to edge back to within one shot of the lead.
A play-off looked imminent when Varner missed the green with his second shot from the right rough on the 18th.
Varner was off the green and 92 feet, or 28 metres, from the hole, but he opted to putt and the ball tracked straight into the cup.
Varner, ranked 99th in the world, finished the round on one-under par 69 for a 13-under par total and his first win since the Australian PGA Championship in December 2016.
He is expected to break into the top 50.

Varner’s sensational Saudi International title
“That’s just great! I was so wanting that. That is awesome. That’s the goal, man. That gets you in the things that I haven’t played in. This is why we play!” said an excited Varner.
Except for a slight wobble on the back nine–- a double bogey on the 14th and a bogey on the 16th hole –- Varner has been a picture of consistency.
“It’s been pretty crazy since it happened. I’m just trying to take it in. Winning just never gets old. There’s been times where it just didn’t go my way, and today it did,” Varner added.
“When that putt went, emotions came out. I love that. When I play with my boys, that’s the emotion I want to see. That’s why you play. Competition, it’s the greatest thing in the world.”
Watson, who Varner considers one of his closest friends on the Tour, rushed from the scoring tent to hug the new champion, even though it meant that his own title drought continued. Watson’s last win was at the 2018 Travelers Championship.
An emotional Watson said: “He is a dear friend of mine. He is a guy I truly love. He is a guy that I want to help.

Varner’s sensational Saudi International title
“It took me five years until I won my first (title), and this is a guy who is just starting to play better and better each year.
“We see his name a little bit more. He’s getting comfortable. I am just so happy for him.”
Spaniard Adri Arnaus, who started the day one shot behind Varner, had snatched the lead with a chipped-in eagle on the par-4 seventh hole, but could not get going after that.
A birdie helped him finish on one-over par 71 in solo third place at 10-under par.
England’s Steve Lewton (69) was the highest-placed Asian Tour member at nine-under par and tied fourth place alongside Australian star Cameron Smith (69).
Former world number one and the 2021 champion Dustin Johnson (70) was in a tie for eighth place at seven-under par.
Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson finished nine shots off the lead after a closing 69.


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