Former Oklahoma State Cowboys golfer Rickie Fowler captured the biggest PGA Tour win in his career with an exceptional finish in the Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass outside of Jacksonville, Fla.
Fowler defeated Sergio Garcia and fellow American Kevin Kisner in a four-hole playoff after the trio finished in a three-way tie after 72 holes of regulation play, each at 12 under par. Fowler knocked in a birdie put on the fourth playoff hole, the par-3 No. 17 signature island hole to cap off one of the greatest finishes in the 41-year history of the Players Championship.
The 26-year-old former Oklahoma State golfer navigated the final six holes of the back nine at TPC Sawgrass in the final round in a blistering 6-under par to make up a 5-shot difference with the tournament leader over the course of the final 18 holes. Over his final 10 holes, including four playoff holes, Fowler shot a combined 8-under par.May 10, 2015; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Rickie Fowler holds up The Players Championship trophy after winning the final round of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Trailing the leader Garcia by 4 strokes after finishing the 14th hole on Sunday, Fowler gained a stroke with a birdie on 15, and followed that up with a game-changing eagle on the par-5 16th. A birdie at the No. 17 island hole and another on the par-4 18th gave the former Oklahoma State college star a 2-stroke lead in the clubhouse over Garcia.
Fowler’s brief lead vanished at the end of the regulation 72-holes, with both Garcia and Kinser matching Fowler’s 12-under tournament finish.
The three tournament leaders went to a three-hole, aggregate-score playoff, the first in Players Championship history. Fowler and Kisner went -par-birdie-par over the initial three holes, while Garcia posted three pars and was eliminated from the playoff shootout.
The victory was Fowler’s second on the PGA Tour and earned him $1,8 million as the winner’s payout. The Players Championship is reported to be the richest in terms of prize money on the PGA Tour, with a purse of $10 million for the 2015 Players tournament.
The victory will also help quiet some of the media criticism of Fowler, who, with only one career PGA Tour win in seven seasons on the Tour, was hearing cries from some golf writers and analysts of his being overrated. In fact, the man best recognized by his bright colored apparel and his flat-brim golf hats, is one of the most popular players among the fans and the players on the PGA Tour.