After coming in second and holding the 54-hole lead on two separate occasions, Rickie Fowler has finally banished his demons to claim the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The 30-year-old survived a roller-coaster back nine which included a triple bogey and a bogey back-to-back, which cut his five-shot lead to one behind in just two holes.
“Pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Fowler said after his win.
On the par-five third, Fowler had to play off the cart path to save par.
On the 11th, drama unfolded as newly enforced rules came into effect.
Fowler’s approach to the 483-yard hole came up short of the green. He then opted for an aggressive chip, likely with the intent to check the ball and let it trickle down. However, the rain-soaked greens did not allow any friction to come in contact with his chip and the ball skidded across the surface, before scaling the bunker line and eventually tumbled into the water.
What happened next was horrifying for Fowler to say the least.
After his penalty drop, his ball rolled back into the pond resulting in another penalty stroke. He would then sink the 16-footer for a triple.
“That’s an interesting one,” Fowler said of the Rules of Golf, which the governing bodies have tried to simplify and make more user-friendly. “We did nothing to cause it to happen, and it’s a one-shot penalty.”
Nevertheless, Fowler displayed true grit and sportsmanship, never once questioning the rule which incurred him an extra penalty. He rallied himself to play on for a well-deserved win.
Fowler reached the green in two at the par-5 15th, his second shot from 239 yards clearing the hazard and leaving him with an easy two-putt birdie from 50 feet. He was tied with Brendan Grace, who was beginning to falter ahead of him.
Fowler saved par on the 16th then he drove the green on 17, the hole that had tormented him for years. In 2016, Fowler put his drive into the water in regulation and hooked a 3-wood into the water on the same hole in the playoff. It cost him dearly as the title went to Hideki Matsuyama.
He was back to 17 under, two ahead of Grace who bogeyed 17.
An easy par on the final hole finally put an end to the torturous day, and hand Fowler his fifth PGA title.Leave a comment