Fowler fires 65 to lead by four at Honda Classic
Winless in more than a year, Rickie Fowler finished strong Saturday for a 5-under-par 65 and built a four-shot lead going into the final round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Fowler made two birdies over the final three holes at relatively benign PGA National as everyone else around him was making mistakes.
Fowler holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th, got a potential break with a ruling behind the 17 th green that allowed him to use a putter instead of a wedge, and then closed with a drive so bold and big that he had only a 7-iron into the par-5 18th that set up a two-putt birdie. That put him at 13-under 197. “I know I have the lead, and it’s nice to go out in front,” Fowler said. “But you still have to play, and especially around this place, it can jump up and bite you.”
Fowler was four shots ahead of Tyrrell Hatton of England, playing his first PGA Tour event in Florida.
Hatton ran off three straight birdies to get within one of the lead until he went long on the 17 th and made bogey, then left a wedge short of the 18th green and had to scramble for par and a 66.
Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer was in position to join him until he took bogey from the middle of the fairway on the 18th and wound up with a 68. That left him in a large group at 7-under 203 that included Emiliano Grillo, who finished his 65 just as the leaders were starting the third round.
Ryan Palmer and Wesley Bryan, tied for the lead going into the day, lost ground over the final two hours. Palmer shot a 73, leaving him seven behind. Bryan made birdie on the 18th to salvage a 72.
Fowler hasn’t won since Abu Dhabi a year ago in January. His last PGA Tour victory was in September 2015 at the Deutsche Bank Championship
LPGA TOUR: Amy Yang had 10 birdies and an eagle in 31 holes Saturday, and the third round of the LPGA Thailand tournament was suspended because of darkness in Chonburi, Thailand.
With five holes left, Yang, at 17 under, had a four-stroke lead over 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion Ryu So Yeon, whose completed third-round 68 gave her the clubhouse lead at 13-under 203.
The tournament was already behind schedule after rain and unplayable course conditions saw the unfinished second round postponed to Saturday at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.
EUROPEAN TOUR: The Joburg Open was reduced to 54 holes after more rain left the course waterlogged and forced another suspension in play in Johannesburg.
Many in the field hadn’t started their third round when thunder and lightning prompted organizers to halt play early in the afternoon. Rain then meant the third round will be completed Sunday and will be the final round at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
England’s Paul Waring and South Africa’s Darren Fichardt share the lead at 11 under, with Waring completing a 67 in his second round early Saturday. Fichardt was one of the few players to finish his second round Friday.
Rickie Fowler is seeking his first victory since January of last year.