Rickie Fowler delivered all the right shots on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and then he delivered some champagne.
He stood near the wood railing overlooking a dozen rows of reporters, hoisting an empty bottle in one hand and a microphone in the other.
“Let’s finish off the year right,” Fowler said.
He certainly showed he is capable after a tense duel with Henrik Stenson at the TPC Boston.
Trailing by three shots early on the back nine, Fowler rolled in a 40-foot putt on the 14th hole to pull within one and then seized control when Stenson hit a towering tee shot that came down short and into the water for double bogey on the par-three 16th.
That combination sent Fowler to another big win. He closed with a three-under 68 for a one-shot victory that assured him of a spot in the top five at the Tour Championship and a clear shot at the US$10 million bonus in the FedEx Cup.
Fowler won The Players Championship in a three-hole playoff in May. He won the Scottish Open with three birdies on the last four holes.
“Being in those positions before, I definitely felt very calm out there,” he said. “I knew what I was trying to do. Knew what I had to do. And was very much ready to do it.”
Fowler moved to No. 5 in the world, not quite part of the “Big Three” this year of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, but perhaps on the cusp of it.
Stenson was a runner-up in a FedEx Cup playoff event for the second straight week, and this one figures to sting.
Stenson holed a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 for a three-shot lead.
And when Fowler hit a bold 5-wood to 10 feet for birdie on No. 11 for a two-shot swing, the Swede answered with a 35-foot birdie on the 12th to restore the cushion to two shots.
It all changed quickly and dramatically on the par-three 16th.
“I obviously pulled the wrong club on 16 and was trying to get the most out of a 7-iron into the wind and ballooned that one a little bit and that was the crucial mistake. Making double there was really a killer,” Stenson said. “I tried to get those two shots back or at least one to force a playoff on the last two holes and couldn’t manage to do it.”
The final hour was every bit as tense as The Players Championship in May, except instead of five players having a chance to win, this was a duel with Stenson the entire back nine. Fowler did not make any birdies after his long putt on the 14th, but he did not have to. Where he thrived was off the tee and his iron play into the greens. Swinging freely, he was never really out of position until he went just long of the green on the par-five closing hole with his second shot.
He played it safe with a putter to 10 feet, putting pressure on Stenson to the very end.
Fowler finished at 15-under 269 and moved to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup behind Day and Spieth, with Stenson at No. 4 and Bubba Watson at No. 5.
Charley Hoffman bounced back from a 76 to close with a 67 and finish alone in third.
One of the loudest cheers was for a player who had no chance to win. William McGirt was on the verge of being eliminated from the FedEx Cup when he holed a 7-iron from the fairway on No. 17 for eagle. A par on the 18th hole allowed him to sneak into the top 70 and advance to the third playoff event north of Chicago in two weeks.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
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