Rickie Fowler pips Henrik Stenson to Deutsche Bank Championship title
Last Updated: 08/09/15 2:03pm
Rickie Fowler took advantage of a late mistake from long-time leader Henrik Stenson to snatch victory after a thrilling final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Stenson was in control for the majority of the day and maintained a one-shot lead over the crowd favourite until a dramatic turnaround at the short 16th, where Fowler knocked his tee shot to 20 feet before Stenson's ball stalled in the breeze and found water.
Fowler's par against Stenson's double-bogey five handed the popular American the lead for the first time in the tournament, and two closing pars proved enough to earn him his second PGA Tour title of the season.
Stenson, one clear overnight, got off to the perfect start with birdies at the opening two holes, while Fowler scrambled a par at the first after driving into the woods before he nailed a huge putt for eagle on the second green to get back to within one.
But Fowler then bogeyed the next two holes, while Stenson also erred at the driveable par-four fourth before getting the shot back with a 15-foot putt for birdie at the next to restore his three-stroke advantage.
Fowler clawed one back with a birdie at seven, only for Stenson to reply at the 10th before a two-shot swing at 11, where Fowler converted a superb tee-shot to 12 feet and the Swede's 15-footer for par missed the target.
Stenson, the 2013 FedExCup champion, responded by draining a 35-foot putt for birdie at the next, and Fowler holed from similar range at the 14th before the titanic battle took a remarkable twist at 16.
Fowler could have been three ahead had his ball not pulled up one revolution short of the cup, and both players missed great chances for birdie at the penultimate hole.
The Players champion then unleashed a mammoth 340-yard drive down the final fairway and Stenson also found the short grass, although both tugged their approaches and finished short and left of the green. Stenson's tricky pitch trundled 14 feet past the hole, and Fowler opted to putt from the run-off area and raced his effort 10 feet long.
But Stenson's birdie putt grazed the right edge of the hole, leaving Fowler with an easy two-putt for par that capped a 68 for a winning score of 15 under par, lifting him to third place in the FedExCup standings.
"I definitely want to be the best player that I can be and I want to be the best player in the world at some point," said Fowler.
"I've been playing very well for the last couple of years and it was just a matter of time before I knocked down the door."
Stenson had to be content with outright second, three clear of halfway leader Charley Hoffman who battled back from his third-round 76 with a 67, including birdies at the final two holes which propelled him into third on 11 under.
Hunter Mahan, the only man to have played in every FedExCup tournament since the new end-of-season format was introduced in 2007, ensured he would extend that record as a closing 70 saw him finish on eight under, lifting him into the top 70 to qualify for the BMW Championship.
Rory McIlroy will again be replaced by Jordan Spieth as world No 1 when the rankings are updated, but he produced his best round of the week with a 66, featuring five birdies in an outward 31, getting him into the top 30 on three under.
But Luke Donald failed to qualify for the third FedExCup event at Conway Farms, where he is a member, after he dropped three shots in four holes around the turn in a closing 73 that saw him slip to one under par.