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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Schupak

Watch: Harold Varner III drains 90-foot eagle putt to win the Saudi International

Harold Varner III picked a great time to sink the biggest putt of his life.

Trailing fellow American Bubba Watson by one stroke and putting from just short of the 18th green at the par-5, Varner needed two putts to force a playoff, but instead drained a 90-foot eagle for the win at the Saudi International. He pumped his fist and leaped into the arms of his caddie in celebration.

“Worst case scenario, we’ll go into a playoff and I’d get him there,” Varner cracked in his winner’s press conference. “And then it went in and 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.”

Varner, 31, closed in 1-under 69 in his final round at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia, to edge Watson, who earlier finished his round with a birdie-eagle combination that put him in the lead.

Watson trailed Varner by six strokes entering Sunday, but grabbed the clubhouse lead with a 15-foot eagle putt at 18. When Varner’s putt dropped, he ran to Varner, his partner since 2018 at the QBE Shootout, and hugged him.

“I’m not mad at him for beating me,” said Watson, who shot 64 on Sunday. “He’s a dear friend of mine and I applaud him. I love seeing that. I cheer for him.”

“We’ve shared a lot of time together. He’s always been in my corner,” Varner said. “But if I could beat somebody that I look up to, how cool is that? And the way it happened, hate it for him, but he’s won plenty.”

Varner’s victory on the Asian Tour was his second international title and first since the 2016 Australian Open. He’s still seeking his first PGA Tour title. Varner is expected to climb into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since turning pro in 2012.

“I never doubted myself,” said Varner, who finished with a 72-hole aggregate of 13-under 267. “I never questioned my ability.”

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