Rickie Fowler showed his peers what overrated looks like.
Just days after an anonymous poll of PGA Tour players indicated Fowler — along with Ian Poulter — was the most overrated player on Tour, he won The Players Championship with the greatest finish in the tournament’s history.
Fowler played the final six holes of regulation in 6 under par, including an eagle-birdie-birdie finish to to turn a 1-over round into a closing 67. The California native played the final three holes of regulation in eight shots. He got a fortunate bounce just shy of the green at the par-5 16th, leading to a tap-in eagle. On the par-3 17th, a hole Fowler has demonstrated he loves, he hit his tee shot inside of 7 feet, leading to a birdie. A hole later, Fowler took an aggressive line on the water-lined hole, hitting a 331-yard tee shot to set up a birdie that took him to 12-under 276 and get into a playoff with 2008 champion Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner, who lost a playoff three weeks ago to Jim Furyk at the RBC Heritage.
Then in the first three-hole, aggregate-score playoff in Players history, he tied with Kisner at 1 under par with yet another birdie on No. 17, eliminating Garcia. When the playoff shifted back to the par-3 17th and into sudden death, Fowler threw a dart into the treacherous hole that led to a tournament-clinching birdie.
The 26-year-old played his final 10 holes in 8 under par.
This is Fowler’s first PGA Tour win since prevailing in another three-man playoff, over Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points, at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
Bill Haas and Ben Martin both shot 2-under 70 on Sunday to finish a shot off the pace at 11 under. Rory Sabbatini and Kevin Na finished at 9 under in a tie for sixth.
Rory McIlroy was part of a five-way tie for eighth, four shots out of the playoff.