With eight holes to play crowd favorite Rickie Fowler found himself three strokes behind after Henrik Stenson, the 2013 DBC winner, rolled in a birdie putt. “I knew what I had to do then,” said Fowler who rolled in a 12-footed for birdie on the tough par 3 11th while Fowler was making a bogey.
Stenson came back on birdied the 12th with a 37-foot putt, but Fowler countered with a 38-footer on the 14th hole. The pivotal hole was the par 3 16th over a pond and into the wind. Fowler’s landed on the green but came up short. Stenson’s shot just carried the water, but bounced back into the hazard. After going back to the drop area, he was unable to get up and down and had to settle for a double-bogey 5. After Fowler two-putted for his par he had a one-stroke lead.
Although both players had birdie putts on 17 and 18, neither made them and Fowler walked away with his first championship at the Deutsche Bank and his second win of the year (Players Championship) on Tour. Earlier this year a poll had come out that said that Fowler was “overrated”. “Since being called overrated, I’ve won three times (Scottish Open, also), so thanks for the poll, I guess.”
“It’s a little disappointing. You are always disappointed when you can’t finish the job when you are in a good position. But we’ll take the positives.” said Stenson who also finished second the week before at the Barclays.
TPC Boston continues to be a closers track as only four players who had the lead at the DBC heading into the final round have managed to hang on in the 12-year history (Adam Scott/2003, Vijay Singh/2004, Olin Browne/2005 and Steve Stricker/2009).
Former DBC winner Charley Hoffman had taken a second round lead after a second-round 63 that was low round of the tournament, but faltered with a 76 during the third round. He came back with a 67 on the final day to claim third place.
Fowler, 26 became the 22nd win by players in their 20’s this year. There have been 18 wins by players in their 30’s, four wins by players in their 40’s and one win by 51-year-old Davis Love who also made the cut and finished tied for 44th with an even-par total of 284.
Five players tied for fourth at 276: Jim Furyk, Patrick Reed, Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair and Matt Jones. Jones was close to the lead all weekend until finishing with a 74.
Four players who were outside the top 70 when they arrived at TPC Boston finished high enough to get to the next round of the FedEx Cup. Hunter Mahan went from 91 to 52 with his fourth place tie. Local favorite Keegan Bradley, who had just announced his engagement, went from 71 to 63 with a tie for 25th. Jerry Kelly had a great week and went from 94 to 65 with a tie for ninth, and Will McGirt went from 88 to 68 (just sneaking in) with a tie for 12th with help from an eagle on the par 4 17th hole.
Tournament Notes: Jordan Speith shot 6-over to miss the cut for the second week in a row during the FedEx playoffs. He still stayed in the top 5 with a chance to win the cup in Atlanta. Hunter Mahan is the only player in the FedEx Cup era to advance each season to the Tour Championship.
Fowler was only 1-under during the week on the par 3’s, but 9-under on the par 4’s and 5-under on the par 5’s—there are only three on the course. Fowler’s best statistic was that he finished 2nd in strokes gained-putting with plus 7.08. Defending champ Chris Kirk finished tied for 29th. Crowd favorite Rory McIlroy, coming back from an ankle injury had trouble on the greens and finished T29 after closing with a 66. Nine rookies on Tour finished in the top 125 in FedEx points and four were still in the chase after the DBC—Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Zac Blair.
Quicken Loans, that offers free mortgages for a year for holes-in-one on Tour, provided 20 fans with a one-month mortgage payment at the DBC when players got within seven feet of the hole on the par 3 16th. Fabian Gomez was the only player to not make a bogey on the final round as he finished with a 64. Fowler did it on the first and third day and Stenson did it on the third day.
Written By: BRUCE VITTNER