Fowler eager to build on Abu Dhabi triumph


Rickie Fowler is hoping his victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship serves as a springboard for a successful 2016.

Two hole-outs from off the green, on the eighth and 17th, helped the American hold off late charges from Thomas Pieters, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson on Sunday at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Having enjoyed the best year of his career to date in 2015, thanks to victories at the Players Championship, Scottish Open and Deutsche Bank Championship, Fowler will rise to fourth in the world rankings as a result of his latest win.

Yet he is unsurprisingly eyeing bigger things this season - with a maiden major triumph surely the priority for a player who boasts five top-five finishes in golf's most prestigious strokeplay events.

"This is a big one - [there was] obviously a great field," said Fowler.

"[My aim was] to come back and work on getting back in the winner's circle after a successful season and keep moving forward.

"Hopefully this is just the start."

Fowler led by two following the delayed completion of the third round and pulled further clear courtesy of birdies at the first and second on his return to the course.

However, the standout moment of his final round undoubtedly came at the par-five eighth, when the 27-year-old holed a bunker shot for eagle having double-bogeyed the previous hole.

"On seven, I made a bad swing, so I kind of deserved a little bit of a penalty there," Fowler reflected. "I got a bit of a bad break having a boulder underneath the ball there, so there was nothing I could really do about that.

"I walked away with a five and [you] go to the next hole and just try and hop back on the horse.

"I've been swinging it well all week, hit a great driver, got it up there just short, and I hit a perfect bunker shot. My caddie responded 'golf's funny that way'. I just continued to go on from there.

"It was a lot of fun - a bit stressful at times. Thomas was playing well. It was fun to go kind of head-to-head with him, being in the same group. We had a good time and it's just nice to come out on top.

"I did a great job of not taking myself out of it. I kind of had to just find my way around the course, made a couple of good putts to keep the momentum going. That's something I did really well on Saturday when I won the Players."