Rickie Fowler takes four-shot lead into final round of Waste Management Phoenix Open

February 2, 2019

Rickie Fowler is the man to beat.

Again.

A year after he took the 54-hole lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (but failed to capitalize on it), Fowler is back in the same position at TPC Scottsdale. Last year his advantage was one. This time it’s four, thanks to his eight-birdie 64 on Saturday that pushed him to 20-under for the week.

Fowler has owned this event. Entering this week, he had shot a collective 79 under par in 10 starts. His scoring average at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course is better than two under per round.

Matt Kuchar and Justin Thomas are in the best position to stop him, at 16 under and 15 under, respectively. Kuchar nearly kept pace with Fowler Saturday, making six birdies on his way to a 65. Thomas carded a sporty three-under 68 but his round will be remembered for a bizarre rules situation that led the PGA Tour to rescind a penalty.

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler is chasing PGA Tour victory no. 5 this week.
Getty Images

The highly publicized two-stroke penalty handed down to Denny McCarthy’s Friday evening was rescinded by the Tour after a similar incident involving Thomas occurred Saturday morning. The Tour made a statement on the decision (so did the USGA), and rules official Slugger White broke it down on the Golf Channel broadcast.

Beyond that bit of nuttiness, it was just another day at the PGA Tour’s craziest event.

The 16th hole continued to live up to expectations, only this time with a somber tee box honoring the late Jarrod Lyle, who aced the par 3 back in 2011. The crowd was nearly treated to another ace Saturday, this time by Emiliano Grillo. The Argentinian’s approach came up just inches shy of the cup.

Tee times begin Sunday at 8:45 a.m. local time. You can find all the groupings for the final round here.