Furious finish fires Fowler to front in Phoenix

Rickie Fowler plays from the bunker on the 15th hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale. — Reuters pic
Rickie Fowler plays from the bunker on the 15th hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale. — Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 — Rickie Fowler's storming finish vaulted him to the top of the Waste Management Phoenix Open leaderboard yesterday after the American signed for four-under 67 and a one-shot lead heading into the final round.

Fowler, who began the day tied for the lead, made a slow start and was one-over through seven holes but roared back into contention with five birdies thereafter, including three straight from the 16th at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.

His 14-under-par 199 total leaves him one clear of in-form Spaniard Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie and Bryson DeChambeau. Five-times major champion Phil Mickelson is in a group of three players a further shot adrift on a packed leaderboard.

World number two Rahm, a fan favourite who played college golf in Arizona, shook off a disappointing finish to his second round with a six-under 65 that included five birdies from the 11th.

The 23-year-old Rahm already has a win and a second this season as he continues his quest to usurp world number one Dustin Johnson at the top of the rankings.

World number four Justin Thomas made a fantastic start to his round when he vaulted into contention by starting with six consecutive birdies to reach 12-under, but a back-nine collapse saw the American tumble back down the standings at six-under.

For Fowler, today's final round will represent a shot at redemption after he blew an opportunity to win in Phoenix two years ago when he put his tee shot into a water hazard and lost to Japan's Hideki Matsuyama in a sudden-death playoff. — Reuters

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