by Jeff Skinner
Orange, very bright orange, ruled the day at Quail Hollow today. Wearing his traditional Sunday orange, Rickie Fowler finally earned his first PGA Tour win in a very exciting finish at The Wells Fargo Championship. Fowler held off Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a one hole playoff after the three finished tied after 72 holes.
Fowler started the day three strokes behind hometown boy Webb Simpson who struggled today and shot his highest round of the week to finish in fourth. The tournament boiled down to a three man race over the “Green Mile” as the last three holes are nicknamed.
All three of them played the final three holes in one over par but it was Points that really felt the wrath of the eighteenth. He had parred the eighteenth all three previous rounds and hadn’t made a bogey since the thirteenth hole on Friday. He had a one stroke lead going into eighteen but his approach from the rough settled in a bunker and he couldn’t get it up and down. His bogey dropped him to fourteen under and into the playoff.
All three seemed relaxed on the eighteenth tee and they hit excellent tee balls. But it was Fowler’s wedge from 132 yards that was the shot of the tournament. He stiffed it to a little more than four feet and with Points and McIlroy far from the hole Fowler was in command. His opponents both made four so Fowler was left with the most important putt of his career. His new ‘left hand low grip’ worked just fine as he rolled his birdie in dead center.
It may seem like Fowler was overdue for a win but he is only 23 years old. This is his third year on the PGA Tour and this win came in his 67th Tour start. Fowler has good success at this tough site that will host the PGA Championship in 2017. In three starts he has a T6, T16 and this very sweet win.
Fowler is one of the most popular golfers on tour as his fashion forward style, immense talent and old school brand of play makes him a favorite among players and fans alike.
Fowler has been close before but had failed to close out the tournament. That was not the case today as this former phenom has earned the title of PGA Tour Winner.