Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fowler hangs on to win Honda by four shots

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – It got a little more interesting than he had hoped, but in the end Rickie Fowler still found a way to leave the Honda Classic with the trophy. Here’s how things ended up at PGA National, where Fowler won by four shots:

Leaderboard: Rickie Fowler (-12), Gary Woodland (-8), Morgan Hoffmann (-8), Jhonattan Vegas (-7), Billy Horschel (-7), Wesley Bryan (-7), Martin Kaymer (-7)

What it means: Fowler started the day with a commanding four-shot lead, but that advantage dwindled to a single shot after a number of front-nine errors. Fowler steadied the ship with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, then removed any lingering drama with a birdie on No. 16 to secure his first worldwide win in over a year and his first PGA Tour title since the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship.

Round of the day: Vegas was 12 shots off the lead when the final round began, but he made the day’s biggest charge up the standings with a 6-under 64 that was highlighted by an ace on No. 15. Vegas made five birdies against just one dropped shot and earned his first top-10 finish on Tour since the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November.

Best of the rest: Nick Watney shot a 5-under 65 to move 45 spots up the standings into a tie for 14th, continuing a solid season as the veteran returns from injury. Watney made seven birdies, including four in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 10-14 to notch his third top-15 finish of the season.

Biggest disappointment: Tyrrell Hatton played with Fowler in the day’s final pairing, but the Englishman bogeyed his opening hole and never truly factored. After three straight sub-par rounds, Hatton limped home with a 2-over 72 that included just two birdies and dropped him into a tie for fourth.

Shot of the day: Fowler appeared in control coming down the stretch, but an accurate approach to the treacherous 16th allowed him to slam the door. Fowler stuck it to 3 feet from 183 yards, leading to an easy birdie that gave him margin for error – which he put to use with bogeys on his final two holes.

Quote of the day: “I think this is something we needed going into Augusta.” – Fowler


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