DETROIT (AP) – Rickie Fowler threw his head back, exhaled and smiled.
After so many people were defeated, he finally did it while waiting for the victory.
Refusing to back down and collapse, Fowler holed a 12-foot birdie on the first playoff hole of the Rocket Mortgage Classic to edge past Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin on Sunday, two weeks after missing out on the US Open.
“It’s great to get it out of the way,” Fowler said after winning for the first time in four years. “I’m obviously going to absorb it and have a little bit of celebration.
“Yeah, it’s been a long road right now.”
Fowler ended his career-long, 96-start championship drought after missing two chances to win in June, tied for fifth with a 75 at the US Open and moved into a tie with a 69 at the Travelers Championship last week. for the 13th.
Fowler was dropped on the leaderboard by Morikawa’s near-record-tying round amid a sea of orange all day at Detroit Golf Club. He responded with a 145-foot hole on his 72nd hole of the tournament with a 3-foot birdie putt to leave him tied at three-way with Morikawa and Hadwin at 24-under.
Fowler hit an errant tee shot in the playoff and after a fall, his approach from 184 landed 12 feet from the cup. Morikawa was inches long on his approach and instead of rolling the ball back into the hole, it bounced into the rough.
Morikawa said, “I really thought I hit the right shot.” “It was just a little juice, went a little off and didn’t have a putter in hand. Not that the chip was not possible, but it would have been better if the putter was in hand.”
Hadwin missed a 22-foot putt and Morikawa missed his chip, opening the door for Fowler to close out the tournament before the storm arrived in Detroit.
“I knew it was just a matter of time how I played,” said Fowler, who finished in the top-10 eight times this season. “I had a few tough weekends where I took my chances.”
Even though Morikawa was disappointed to miss out on the victory he had been hoping for since winning the 2021 British Open, he was happy for Fowler.
“He’s playing amazing golf, it’s great to see,” he said. “People love him.”
Morikawa’s 8-under round put him one shot behind the course record of 63. Hadwin scored 67 and Fowler scored 68.
Fowler had a 54-hole lead at Los Angeles Country Club last month to win his first major title and was at least co-leader after three rounds at each tournament over the past two years.
Prior to his success in Detroit, he was the third round leader or co-leader, winning only twice out of 10.
The 34-year-old Fowler did what was needed physically and mentally to earn his sixth PGA Tour victory and his first since winning the 2019 West Management Phoenix Open.
Fan-favorite Fowler, a longtime Rocket Mortgage ambassador, is best known as the “Rick-I!” cheered with chants of Rick-ie!” as a crowd of people gathered around the 18th green in the hope that he would win it.
While Fowler faltered, going 10 straight for par on a relatively easy course, Morikawa carded four birdies from both the front and back. Morikawa made a 10-foot putt on the 12th, his fourth birdie in six holes to put him within a shot of Fowler, and his 9-footer for birdie on the 14th brought him tied on 23 with Fowler. Gave. Under
Monday’s qualifiers Peter Kuest (65), Lucas Glover (65) and Taylor Moore (67) are tied for fourth at 21-under. Kuest, who started the week ranked world No. 789, did well enough to earn a spot at the John Deere Classic in Illinois this week.
Play was suspended for 1 hour 42 minutes due to lightning on Saturday and the schedule for the final round was adjusted due to forecast bad weather. The leaders settled on Sunday morning, about 5 hours ahead of the original schedule, with threes starting on both the front and back nine.
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