Rickie Fowler takes four-shot vic­tory in the Honda Clas­sic.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

Rickie Fowler made it in­ter­est­ing Sun­day for as long as it took him to make two big putts to pull away in the Honda Clas­sic at Palm Beach Gar­dens, Fla.

Staked to a four-shot lead, Fowler hit one putt into a sprin­kler hole, hit a tee shot into the wa­ter and watched a big lead shrink to one over Gary Wood­land early on the back nine. Fowler an­swered with con­sec­u­tive birdie putts of 40 and

25 feet and closed with a 1-over 71 for a four-shot vic­tory.

“If I don’t make those putts, I’ve got a pretty tight race,” Fowler said.

In­stead, those chas­ing him had the big­gest prob­lems with the clos­ing stretch at PGA Na­tional.

Fowler ef­fec­tively ended it with a shot over the wa­ter to 3 feet that stretched his lead to five shots with two holes to play. Wood­land ap­peared to have sec­ond place wrapped up un­til he three-putted the 17th, and then tried to lay up on the par-5 18th Fowler and came up short into the wa­ter. He closed with an­other bo­gey for a 69. He had to share sec­ond place — the dif­fer­ence of $128,000 — with Mor­gan Hoff­mann, who missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

PGA cham­pion Jimmy Walker was lurk­ing on the fringe of con­tention un­til tee shots into the wa­ter on the 15th and 17th holes, which cost him five shots.

Tyrrell Hat­ton of Eng­land, who played in the fi­nal group in his first PGA Tour event in Florida, was out of the pic­ture quickly. He still had a chance to fin­ish alone in sec­ond, which would have gone a long way to­ward se­cur­ing a PGA Tour card, un­til miss­ing a 3-foot birdie putt on the 17th.

Fowler even got into the act when it no longer mat­tered. He hit his tee shot into the wa­ter on the 17th hole and made bo­gey, then hit a wedge into the bunker on the 18th and closed with an­other bo­gey to fin­ish at 12-un­der 268.

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