With no mistakes and two great escapes from the trees, Shane Lowry of Ireland introduced himself on a world stage Sunday by winning the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
He locked up victory in this World Golf Championship with a shot through the trees from left of the 18th fairway that descended over a bunker and settled just over 10 feet away for one final birdie and a four-under-par 66.
"I was trying to get it to the front right of the green, but I pulled it a little bit," Lowry said. "Obviously, it went through the tree, and the rest is history. I couldn't believe I was seeing the ball coming down from there, coming down on the green."
He won by two shots over Bubba Watson, who also shot 66.
Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, and he picked up his first European Tour victory in 2012 in Portugal.
In a final round at Firestone against a trio of major champions, Lowry produced a flawless card of no bogeys and plenty of emotional fist pumps to celebrate the biggest win of his career. He is the first non-PGA Tour member to win a WGC since Martin Kaymer at the 2011 HSBC Champions.
"I can't believe it," Lowry said. "I've played well most of the year, but these last four days are very special."
Jim Furyk and Justin Rose, who shared the 54-hole lead, couldn't keep up. Both closed with a 72 to tie for third, four shots behind.
Lowry finished at 11-under 269 and earned $1.57 million, along with a PGA Tour card for the next three years. He had been a special temporary member.
Watson was stunned that two wedges down the stretch bounced so hard on the greens and took away reasonable birdie chances — one on the par-five 16th and on the closing hole after a drive that rolled out nearly 380 yards.
"I nipped it, took paint off the ball and cut it with a 63-degree lob wedge and it just bounced," Watson said. "Now knowing that if I had hit the tree, it spins more on 18. That's what I should have done. Tell Lowry that was unbelievable."
Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth closed with a 66 and tied for 10th, his fifth straight top 10 during a stretch in which he has won four times.
Henry wins in playoff
J.J. Henry won the Barracuda Championship for the second time in four years, beating Kyle Reifers with a 15-foot eagle putt from the fringe on the second hole of a playoff in Reno, Nev. After Henry holed the left-to-right breaking putt on the par-five 18th, Reifers missed a 10-footer.
Reifers had three back-nine eagles in a 22-point round to match Henry at 47 points at Montreux Golf and Country Club in the PGA Tour's only modified Stableford event. The 40-year-old Henry, also the 2012 winner, closed with a birdie for a six-point round.
Players received eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
Patrick Rodgers was a point back after an 11-point round.
Andres Gonzales was fourth at 43 after a 10-point round, and David Toms was another point back after scoring two points.
Maggert stays hot
Jeff Maggert won the Shaw Charity Classic for his third Champions Tour title of year, making birdies on five of the last six holes on the front nine in a four-stroke victory in Calgary, Canada.
The 51-year-old Texan, two strokes behind playing partners Miguel Angel Jimenez and Colin Montgomerie entering the round, closed with a six-under 64 at Canyon Meadows to finish at 16-under 194.
Maggert also won major titles this year in the Regions Tradition and U.S. Senior Open. He won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic last year in his debut on the 50-and-over tour.