Fowler wins Players with record finish

Rickie Fowler played his last 10 holes at Sawgrass in eight-under to win The Players

Players Championship Past Winners
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler produced a sensational finish at TPC Sawgrass to force, and then win, a playoff for The Players Championship against Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.

Rickie Fowler produced a sensational finish at TPC Sawgrass to force, and then win, a playoff for The Players Championship against Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner.

Fowler was five shots off the lead at the start of his back nine, but he went crazy on the run for home. His last six holes were: birdie, par, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie. That sensational finish put him in the clubhouse on 12-under-par. It was a total that looked like being good enough to win him the tournament in regulation play after Sergio Garcia had bogeyed the 14th to fall two back.

But both the Spaniard and Fowler’s fellow American Kevin Kisner produced fine finishes of their own to match Fowler’s 72-hole score. Garcia birdied the 17th and 18th holes while Kisner picked up gains at the 16th and 17th holes to reach 12-under-par.

The three men then contested the first three-hole playoff at The Players Championship – over the iconic 16th, 17th and 18th holes.

Fowler and Kisner stretched ahead with fabulous birdies at the island green 17th – a second straight two there for both men. Garcia couldn’t keep pace and was eliminated after the 18th.

Kisner and Fowler returned to the 17th for sudden-death holes. Both men played great tee shots once again – Kisner firing into 12 feet and Fowler to five. Kisner’s putt missed and Fowler calmly rolled his home for his first PGA Tour victory in three years.

“I’d say this was a pretty big one!” Fowler said afterwards.

Playing in the final group, Ben Martin had a chance to make the playoff. He fired three straight birdies from the 15th to reach 12-under-par, but a pushed tee shot on the final hole led to a pitch out. He failed to get up-and-down and the bogey saw him finish one back.

Bill Haas also came up one shy. He narrowly missed a short eagle putt on the 16th and a birdie effort on the 17th was a fraction from going in. He needed to birdie the final hole to make the playoff but could only record a par.

Jamie Donaldson and Rory McIlroy were the best placed Brits at Sawgrass, they finished in a tie for 8th place, four shots behind the winner.

The Players Championship TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida May 7-10 Purse: $10,000,000, par 72

1    Rickie Fowler (USA)    69    69    71    67    276    $1,800,000 T2    Sergio Garcia (Esp)    69    72    67    68    276    $880,000 T2    Kevin Kisner (USA)    73    67    67    69    276    $880,000 T4    Bill Haas (USA)        72    67    68    70    277    $440,000 T4    Ben Martin (USA)        68    71    68    70    277    $440,000 T6    Kevin Na (USA)        67    69    72    71    279    $347,500 T6    Rory Sabbatini (RSA)    70    71    69    69    279    $347,500 T8    Jamie Donaldson (Wal)    70    72    71    67    280    $270,000 T8    Brian Harman (USA)    71    69    70    70    280    $270,000 T8    Ryo Ishikawa (Jap)    71    69    69    71    280    $270,000 T8    Rory McIlroy (NIR)    69    71    70    70    280    $270,000 T8    John Senden (Aus)    73    70    67    70    280    $270,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage


Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?