Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fore Things: Fowler finally wins with 54-hole lead

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It wasn’t exactly how he drew it up, but Rickie Fowler still managed to get the job done at the Honda Classic. Here are Fore Things you should take away from Fowler’s convincing victory at the Honda Classic:

1. 0-fer no more. Fowler tried to downplay his recent struggles with the 54-hole lead, but make no mistake: he’s glad to have shed this particular distinction. Winning a home game on a difficult golf course is especially satisfying, but so too is ending the string of questions about winning from the front that has followed him over the last year.

2. Add Gary Woodland to your sleeper list. Woodland still hasn’t won since 2013, but his runner-up at PGA National was his second of the season and his fifth top-20 finish in his last six starts. Don’t be surprised if his name percolates toward the top of the leaderboard at either Augusta National or Erin Hills.

3. Burnt orange return in sight. Jhonattan Vegas picked a great time to shoot a final-round 64, vaulting up the standings and ultimately tying for fourth after starting the day 12 shots off the lead. The result is likely enough to secure Vegas’ spot in the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship next month in Austin, bringing the Venezuelan back to the city where he attended college at the University of Texas.

4. Charles Howell III edged out again. The veteran has been on the wrong side of a number of rankings cutoffs in recent years, and it happened again at PGA National. Howell finished T-52, but the 1-2 finish from Fowler and Woodland knocked him from ninth to 11th in the season-long FedEx Cup standings with only the top 10 earning spots in next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

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