Fowler secures Phoenix Open win despite final-round struggles
Rickie Fowler claimed a first PGA Tour win in two years, securing a two-stroke victory at the Phoenix Open on Sunday.
Fowler had a double- and triple-bogey in his final round, but finished at 17 under despite a three-over 74, holding off Branden Grace.
It was the American's fifth win on the PGA Tour and first since the Honda Classic in February 2017.
In 2018, Fowler entered the final round of the Phoenix Open as the solo leader but dropped to finish in a tie for 11th place. He was moved to tears after his round with friends and family present, including his grandpa who had never seen him win in person.
But he made no mistake this time as rain fell at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday, Fowler handing his grandpa the winning ball and proceeding to lift a trophy he has been in contention for many times before.
"My dad's always been here, my grandparents have always been here," Fowler said. "So it's always been pretty disappointing to have been there and feel like we were so close to getting a win ... It's nice to finally get that done. I'm happy for now."
Fowler's win was almost spoiled on the par-four 11th hole. His third shot went into the water and he was handed a one-stroke penalty after his dropped ball rolled back into the water. He finished with a triple-bogey and moved into a tie for first place.
Rickie Fowler has made a triple bogey 7.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 3, 2019
The lead is down to 1. pic.twitter.com/1gZxTfJvVJ
"It wasn't really fun there for a couple of holes," he said. "I mean to have what happened on five, but then 11. [I] kind of just rolled with the punches."
Fowler edged out Grace, who moved two spots up the leaderboard after carding a two-under 69 to finish in second place at 15 under in his Phoenix Open debut. Grace was going toe-to-toe with Fowler until a bogey on the 17th hole took him out of contention.
Branden Grace has found the water on No. 17.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 3, 2019
He now trails Rickie Fowler by 1. pic.twitter.com/PhYTx3hylN
"This place was nuts," Grace said. "It's everything and more than what I expected and what a fun week it was. I can't take anything for granted and I had to dig deep today and I did that, it's just unfortunately one bad shot."
Justin Thomas rounded out the top three. He was with Fowler in the final group but two bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-four ninth hole dropped Thomas (72) down to third at 14 under.
Chez Reavie, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar finished in a three-way tie for fourth place at 12 under. Gary Woodland, the 2018 Phoenix Open champion, was tied for seventh.