losangelesnewstoday.com May 24, 2018

Fowler birdies last 3 holes, leads Phoenix Open

05 February 2018, 06:16 | Katrina Lee

2:08 | Tour & News Greatest Moments From the Phoenix Open's 16th Hole

2:08 | Tour & News        Greatest Moments From the Phoenix Open's 16th Hole

The Oklahoma State product shot a 4-under-par round of 67 on Saturday to take the outright lead in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"From the first couple times I played it, I knew it was just kind of a matter of time before I would win here", Fowler said.

He pushed his lead to as many as two strokes before a bogey at the 17th, and DeChambeau capped his 66 with back-to-back birdies at the last two holes to join his fellow American in the clubhouse at 10 under.

But it devolved into a nightmare that included three bogeys, a triple-bogey and a double-bogey and his even par 71 left him eight strokes adrift. Once there, fans waited almost seven hours for the first group of golfers to make their way to No. 16. He finished a shot behind Hunter Mahan in 2010, lost to Hideki Matsuyama on the fourth extra hole in 2016, and tied for fourth past year.

Despite his status as a fan favourite, and a healthy world ranking of seventh, Fowler knows he has let too many tournaments slip away, with 12 career runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour to go with his four official victories.

He was stuck in neutral for much of the third round but birdied the last three holes to shoot 67 and get to 14-under, one up on Jon Rahm (65), Chez Reavie (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (68).

Getty Images
Getty Images

Fowler birdied the eighth hole to salvage an even-par front nine, and finally found something on the back, where he shot 4-under.

Mickelson finished the day tied for 5th at 12-under while Rahm and Reavie finished tied for 2nd at 13-under. He was tied with reigning Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele (66) and Daniel Berger (68).

It also means that there will be a new victor today, with Rickie Fowler surviving late miscues to share the second-round lead alongside Bryson DeChambeau.

Two years ago, he blew a two-stroke lead on 17 in regulation when he drove through the green and into the water, then handed the playoff to Matsuyama when he hit into the water again.

"To have a crowd like this behind you, you really feel that energy", said Mickelson, who said he's also benefitting from off-season work with the driver. In 2015, the former SMU star became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year.

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