Fowler Falls Short

TITLE: Fowler Falls Short

 

A stroke of luck was the difference.

In 2016 Navajo golfer Rickie Fowler won the Abu Dhabi golf championship by a single stroke.

On Sunday he fell one stroke short of winning the green jacket at the Master’s.

The crowd cheered lustily when Fowler, 29, sank a birdie on the 18th hole, keeping the pressure on eventual champion Patrick Reed. Fowler shot one-under par over the final 11 holes. But it wasn’t enough.

Reed claimed his first major title, holding off a furious round from Jordan Speith, who shot an amazing 64 on the final day of the tournament. And, of course, Reed made his final shot – a three-foot putt – to end one stroke better than Fowler.

Fowler is no stranger to near misses. The 2018 Master’s marks the third time he has finished runner-up in the tournament. He has ended in the top 10 nine times.

But Lady Luck blinked on Sunday. Still, Rick Yutaka Fowler – whose masaani’ (maternal grandmother) is Navajo – is no flash-in-the-pan either.

He was the top ranked amateur in the world for 37 weeks between 2007 and 2008. Fowler was also part of the 2007 and 2009 winning U.S. Walker Cup teams.

Largely self-taught, Fowler just seemed to burst upon the golf scene, playing as if he was from another planet. And, maybe, he is. Fowler is from Jupiter.

Um, Jupiter, Fla., that is.

The Abu Dhabi victory in 2016 moved him to a career-high No. 4 in the official worldwide golf rankings.

Born in Murrieta, Calif., Fowler used to whack balls on the driving range. In his senior year in high school Fowler won the SW League and led his team to the state finals.

In 2008 Fowler was one of only three amateurs to make the cut on the first day of the U.S. Open. He shot a 1-under par 70 to end the first day tied for 7th place. He eventually finished 60th.

In 2010 Fowler won the PGA’s rookie of the year award – beating out another future champion, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.

So far Fowler has won three PGA tournaments, along with two on the European Tour and one on the OneAsia Tour.

He finished 2nd at the 2013 Australian PGA Championship and a year later was runner-up at the U.S. Open.

In fact, in 2014, Fowler became only the third golfer to finish in the top five at all four majors in the same calendar year. You may have heard of the other two – Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

But Fowler was the first not to win a major.

 

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