Rickie Fowler held a four-shot lead after 54 holes of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but Sunday at TPC Scottsdale was cold, rainy and full of surprises. Here’s what you missed on Sunday at the Phoenix Open.
Who won: Rickie Fowler (three-over 74, 17 under overall)
How it happened: Fowler led by four to begin the day, but his playing partners Matt Kuchar and Justin Thomas did little to threaten him early. All three players made the turn in two over, and suddenly Fowler led by five on the 11th tee. But that’s when everything changed. Fowler hit one ball into the water and then was penalized another shot for a rare rules infraction, resulting in a triple bogey. Fowler, perhaps still rattled, bogeyed the 12th and, after two straight birdies from Grace, trailed the South African by one. But Fowler birdied the par-5 15th to tie Grace and then took the lead when Grace hit his tee shot into the water on the drivable par-4 17th and made bogey. Fowler improved his lead to two with a birdie on 17 and ended up beating Grace (69) by that margin.
Key hole: The 11th! Is there any question? Fowler led by five on the tee, but after his third shot went into the water and he took a drop, his dropped ball eventually rolled back down the bank and into the water as he was assessing his next shot. Since his ball was in play, it resulted in a one-stroke penalty and tournament-changing triple-bogey 7.
Why it matters: Fowler entered the final round having won just once in his six 54-hole leads on Tour, and he’d never shot under par in any of those final rounds. He still failed to shoot under par on Sunday, but he did enough to win for the first time since the 2017 Honda Classic. It also gives Fowler his first victory in Phoenix. He was the runner-up in this event twice in his career. It’s Fowler’s fifth career PGA Tour victory.
Best putt during a rules controversy: Grace drained a 50-footer on the 12th while Fowler’s group sorted things out on the 11th. Grace added another birdie on 13 to grab the solo lead.
Best quote: The PGA Tour overturned a controversial rules decision on Saturday that was handed to Denny McCarthy on Friday. With that in mind, Fowler was curious about other potential rules changes while walking down the 12th fairway, still shocked from what happened on the 11th.
Best shot when it mattered: Things got rough for Fowler on the 11th green, but he put a bandaid on a bad situation by stepping up and draining the 17 footer to save triple bogey.
Up next: We’ll get our first of two looks at Pebble Beach Golf Links. The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am begins on Thursday with Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Kuchar highlighting the field. The Tour returns to Pebble for the U.S. Open in June.