Rickie Fowler recovered from a back-side triple-bogey to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Fowler’s final-round 3-over-par 74 came with birdies on two of the final four holes after his lead disappeared at TPC Scottsdale.
Fowler finished at 17-under 267 to win by two shots over South Africa’s Branden Grace, whose final-round 69 wasn’t enough.
A year ago, Fowler couldn’t hold a lead in this tournament entering the final round. This time, he had a four-shot cushion, and he saw that vanish.
Fowler pulled even with Grace thanks to a birdie on the par-5 No. 15. Another birdie at the par-4 No. 17 after Grace took a bogey on the 17th gave Fowler a two-shot edge. Then Grace hit into the water on No. 17, proving costly.
Fowler had been pumped up by then as he drove the green on the par-4 17th with a chance at an eagle putt.
But it wasn’t easy from there. Fowler’s tee shot on the 18th ended up buried in the tall grass strips located in a fairway sand trap. Two shots later, he had a short putt for par to clinch the title.
Fowler, 30, secured his fifth victory on the PGA Tour. It came despite the highest final-round score in the tournament’s history.
Fowler made triple at the par-4 11th when his approach rolled past the pin, over the green and into the water behind the green, which was deemed a penalty area. The ball rolled back into the water, costing him another stroke, before Fowler finally got up and down for a 7. He followed up with a bogey 4 on the par-3 No. 12.
Justin Thomas, who contended all week, had three birdies during his final-round 72 and ended up third at 14 under.
Matt Kuchar, who joined Thomas and Fowler in the final group, shot 75 and faded to a tie for fourth at 12 under. He shared that with Bubba Watson (71) and Chez Reavie (68)
Fowler’s double bogey on No. 5 created the first notable movement on the leaderboard, softened some because Kuchar and Thomas both took bogeys on the hole.
Defending champion Gary Woodland closed with 72 for his worst round of the tournament and finished tied for seventh at 11-under.
–Field Level Media