Rickie Fowler blows five shot lead but still wins in Phoenix

A par on the last gave Fowler a closing 74 and a two-shot victory over Branden Grace

Rickie Fowler celebrates following his winning par putt on the 18th green at TPC Scottsdale. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rickie Fowler celebrates following his winning par putt on the 18th green at TPC Scottsdale. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

Rickie Fowler somehow survived a rollercoaster final round to claim his fifth PGA Tour title and a first for two years in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Fowler looked set to squander a five-shot lead with just eight holes to play when he chipped into the water on the 11th and then, after taking a penalty drop and walking away to survey his next shot, saw his ball roll back into the hazard.

After a discussion with PGA Tour rules official Slugger White, that meant another penalty drop and in the end Fowler did remarkably well to chip to 15 feet and hole the putt for a demoralising triple-bogey seven.

It was no surprise that the 30-year-old also bogeyed the next and found himself a shot behind a charging Branden Grace, but Fowler drew level with a birdie on the 15th before it was Grace’s turn to implode by driving into the water on the short par-four 17th.

Grace compounded the error by chipping into a greenside bunker and did well to salvage a bogey, but Fowler then drove the green on the same hole and two-putted from 55 feet for a decisive birdie.

A par on the last gave Fowler a closing 74 and a two-shot victory over Grace, with world number Justin Thomas a shot further back after a round of 72.

Fowler, who had also double-bogeyed the fifth hole, told Sky Sports: “It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but other than two holes I felt like it was a decent round of golf considering the conditions.

“I did a decent job of getting past the two holes which cost us five shots today. A bad break with the ball rolling back into the water but we moved on and that’s what’s nice about having a cushion after 54 holes, it allows you to make mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect.

“So to step up and play the way I did the last four or five holes was nice.

“I have been in this position a lot and know it can go the right way or the wrong way. At the end of the day winning is amazing, but there are a lot bigger things in life. If I hadn’t won today the sun is still going to rise tomorrow. That was a calming factor.”

Ireland’s Seamus Power had failed to make the weekend cut after a 77 in Friday’s second round.

Final round scores and totals in the USPGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (USA unless stated, par 71):

267 Rickie Fowler 64 65 64 74

269 Branden Grace (Rsa) 67 64 69 69

270 Justin Thomas 64 66 68 72

272 Matt Kuchar 67 65 65 75, Bubba Watson 66 67 68 71, Chez Reavie 71 69 64 68

273 Chris Stroud 71 66 67 69, Gary Woodland 68 67 66 72, Sungjae Im (Kor) 69 68 67 69

274 Harold Varner III 64 71 68 71, Xander Schauffele 67 72 67 68, Jon Rahm (Spa) 67 68 70 69, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 70 69 66 69, Russell Knox (Sco) 71 66 69 68

275 Trey Mullinax 67 64 72 72, Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 65 71 72, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69 69 69, Russell Henley 68 68 69 70, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 66 71 70 68

276 Jason Kokrak 73 66 65 72, Charley Hoffman 66 68 70 72, yeong-Hun An (Kor) 66 68 66 76, Scott Piercy 66 71 71 68, Chesson Hadley 71 65 70 70, Webb Simpson 67 69 70 70

277 Bud Cauley 68 72 66 71, JT Poston 65 74 68 70, Max Homa 70 68 71 68, J.B. Holmes 69 68 68 72, Martin Laird (Sco) 65 68 70 74, Kevin Kisner 70 69 70 68, Brandon Harkins 70 66 69 72

278 Hunter Mahan 70 68 69 71, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 67 73 67 71, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 70 71 68, Denny McCarthy 69 65 71 73, Ollie Schniederjans 67 69 69 73, David Hearn (Can) 67 68 71 72

279 Nick Watney 67 69 69 74, Zach Johnson 71 67 69 72, Beau Hossler 70 71 66 72, Billy Horschel 71 68 73 67, Brian Harman 69 72 69 69

280 Danny Lee (Nzl) 72 68 67 73, Alex Noren (Swe) 69 72 69 70, Jimmy Walker 72 69 66 73, Adam Hadwin (Can) 72 67 69 72, John Catlin 70 71 68 71, Tom Hoge 67 68 69 76

281 Matthew Wolff 67 70 72 72, Chris Kirk 71 70 69 71, J.J. Spaun 69 69 72 71, Stewart Cink 69 70 70 72, Kevin Streelman 71 67 70 73

282 Adam Schenk 70 71 71 70, Brian Stuard 71 69 71 71, Brian Gay 67 73 72 70, Brandt Snedeker 69 70 72 71

283 Grayson Murray 68 72 70 73, 284 Kevin Na 68 72 74 70, Richy Werenski 69 69 73 73, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 70 68 70 76, Sam Ryder 72 67 71 74, Ryan Palmer 68 71 71 74, Andrew Landry 67 68 74 75, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 73 68 72 71

285 Keegan Bradley 68 69 75 73, James Hahn 68 72 70 75, Cameron Champ 70 69 71 75

286 Freddie Jacobson (Swe) 68 72 72 74, John Huh 67 73 69 77

288 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 71 70 72 75

289 Keith Mitchell 74 67 74 74

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