The Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–Standing above a greenside bunker at TPC Scottsdale’s difficult par-four 11th hole, Rickie Fowler turned just in time to see his ball, one he had just placed after penalty, trickle into the water.
Fowler already had seen his share of bad luck at the Phoenix Open. Now balls were rolling into hazards on their own.
Unable to catch a break, Fowler took it upon himself to create his own.
Fowler shook off a bizarre triple bogey on No. 11 with clutch shots down the stretch–finally winning the tournament yesterday that twice had eluded him.
“I didn’t think it would be easy but the way I was playing this week, I thought it would have been easier,” Fowler admitted.
“It was kind of grind it out,” he added. “I had a couple of tough breaks and had to deal with the punches–a couple big ones–but it feels good now.”
After a pair of 64s and a 65, Fowler shot three-over 74 in the final round on a soggy Sunday at TPC Scottsdale, highest by a winner in tournament history.
He finished at 17-under 267 to beat Branden Grace by two shots for his fifth PGA Tour title.
Fowler had another over-par round with a 54-hole lead–he’s 7-for-7 there–but birdied two of his final four holes to win from the third-round lead for the second time (the 2017 Honda Classic was the other).
Fowler also had a double bogey on the par-four fifth hole–becoming the first PGA Tour player to win with a double bogey and triple bogey or worse since 1983.
“He really dug down and pulled it off,” Grace said.
David Hearn (72) of Brantford, Ont. tied for 33rd at six-under 278.
Adam Hadwin (72) of Abbotsford, B.C. tied for 44th at four-under 280.
Fowler has experienced his share of heartbreak at the Phoenix Open. He had the 54-hole lead last year and shot a two-over 73 to finish six shots behind Gary Woodlandr.
In 2016, Fowler blew a two-shot lead with two holes to go before losing in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama, twice hitting it into the water on the drivable par-four 17th.
None of it compared to what happened to him yesterday.
Leading by four to start the day, he was up five shots stepping onto the tee on No. 11.
The lead was one after a bizarre sequence of events at the long par-four.
With rain picking up, Fowler hit his approach shot right of the green and his chip skipped past the flag into the water, incurring a two-shot penalty.
He dropped next to a bunker and, as he stood on the green surveying his next shot, his ball rolled back into the water without being touched.
PGA Tour rules official Slugger White determined Fowler’s ball was in play after the drop, so he was assessed a one-shot penalty.
Fowler got up-and-down from there, knocking in a 17-foot putt for triple-bogey seven–his seventh double bogey or worse when playing with a 54-hole lead.