Oklahoma State alum Rickie Fowler was in pursuit of his fifth world-wide victory in nine months, but he fell short to Hideki Matsuyama in five holes of sudden death in the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Fowler finished the first round at six-under-par, tied for the lead with Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyuma. Here are the first round highlights:
Round 1 @WMPhoenixOpen highlights: @RickieFowler among the early leaders https://t.co/E0QuFLmhrM— ESPN Golf (@ESPNGolf) February 5, 2016
Fowler performed well on day two, ending Friday one back from then-leader James Hahn. Fowler didn't hesitate to keep the crowd involved en route to a three-under 68.
Great time today with good friends #WasteManagementPhoenixOpen @RickieFowler playing the crowd up and sticks it pic.twitter.com/att3gQFqN6— Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (@StenhouseJr) February 6, 2016
Fowler's third round performance was up and down, featuring three bogeys and four birdies on his one-under 71. Fowler went into Sunday three shots back from then-leader Danny Lee. The neon-clad Poke grad did claim the drive of the day with this bomb on the last hole, beating Brendan Steele's previous drive by one yard:
Drive of the day on 18 goes to @RickieFowler. #QuickHits https://t.co/0AyOJ9Kyp6— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 6, 2016
Golfing in his orange Puma kit, Fowler finished strong on the fourth round. This birdie on No. 10 was one of four through 15 holes:
On top thanks to shots like this on the 10th. #GoRickie ! https://t.co/RwpmTHeVqA— Rickie Fowler Fans (@RickieFNation) February 7, 2016
Fowler set himself up for his fifth birdie with this shot on No. 16:
Rickie Fowler handles the noise. #QuickHits https://t.co/JvYDW4h9tF— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2016
But missed a short putt and had to settle for par.
Rickie misses birdie putt on 16. Two shot lead with two holes to play. #12Sports pic.twitter.com/V28QXRNMsQ— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) February 7, 2016
Fowler's lead became slimmer after his drive dribbled into the water on No. 17.
Will this cost @RickieFowler the win? #quickhits pic.twitter.com/fbzYy22eBp— Galf (@GalfApp) February 7, 2016
Following an improbable drive where the ball bounced off the 'church pews' bunker and landed in the fairway, Fowler set himself up for a birdie to answer Matsuyama's birdie and fourth round 67.
FOWLER KILLS IT AT 18 !! #wmo #wmopen #clutch https://t.co/trd8gBKp24— slashorz (@slashorz) February 7, 2016
Fowler nailed this putt for birdie to regain a tie for first and head to sudden death:
Calm. Cool. Collected.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2016
Rickie Fowler. #QuickHits https://t.co/tJKNWMbve6
In the playoff, Fowler started No. 18 with a tough shot:
Matsuyama finds the dance floor.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2016
Fowler misses short. #QuickHits https://t.co/hdC3xTpkyB
But made up for it with a beautiful chip on the green:
Rickie Fowler's chip for birdie ...— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2016
No dice. He's in safe for par, though. #QuickHits https://t.co/QMasCDzUaN
Luckily for Fowler, Matsuyama's potential birdie fell short and they both headed to a second hole.
Hideki Matsuyama for the win ...#QuickHits https://t.co/DWM3TDYahB— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2016
In the second hole, Fowler nailed a birdie from a couple of feet out, and Matsuyama made a similar putt to head to another sudden death.
Three holes later, Fowler hit it into the water and missed an easy putt for par to give the victory to Matsuyama. Matsuyama missed the first putt for birdie but made it for par, which beat Fowler's bogey. Fowler finished second in the 2016 Waste Management Open, right behind Matsuyama; regardless, Poke nation is proud of his emergence as one of the world's top golfers.