Fowler shoots 64 for 4-shot lead at Phoenix Open

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOHN MAR­SHALL

Rickie Fowler had the lead head­ing into the fi­nal round last year at the Phoenix Open, only to see the ti­tle slip through his grip for a sec­ond time.

He will have a big cush­ion in his third bid to win the cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing a stel­lar dis­play of golf.

Fowler had eight birdies in a 7-un­der 64 on Satur­day at TPC Scottsdale to take a four-shot lead over Matt Kuchar into the fi­nal round.

Fowler opened with four birdies in six holes and nav­i­gated a dif­fi­cult twop­utt on the par-4 18th hole to reach 20-un­der 193.

Now it’s time to fin­ish it off.

“This one is def­i­nitely high on the list, an­other be­ing Tor­rey Pines,” Fowler said. “I would say be­tween here and there, those would be the two high­est on the list other than a ma­jor.”

Kuchar shot a bo­geyfree 65 to put him­self in po­si­tion for his third vic­tory of the wrap­around PGA sea­son. He has been par or bet­ter in all 19 rounds this sea­son, win­ning the Mayakoba Clas­sic and Sony Open.

Justin Thomas, who started one be­hind Fowler, shot 65 and was five back of his friend and desert room­mate.

Bran­den Grace and Byeong Hun An were at 13 un­der on a day golf said good­bye to one of its most dis­tinc­tive voices.

Satur­day’s third round was the broad­cast­ing finale of NBC lead golf an­a­lyst Johnny Miller’s ca­reer.

Miller fol­lowed a Hall of Fame play­ing ca­reer with three decades of call­ing it the way he saw it, re­gard­less of what the play­ers thought of him. Want­ing to spend more time with his fam­ily, the 71-year-old Miller de­cided to call it quits af­ter the Phoenix Open, where he won twice to help earn the nick­name “Desert Fox.”

MATT YORK AP

Rickie Fowler eyes his shot on the 14th green dur­ing the third round of the Phoenix Open on Satur­day in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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