Rickie Fowler wins Honda Classic for fourth PGA Tour title

Rickie Fowler is a winner again on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)

It wasn’t particularly pretty on Sunday, but Rickie Fowler picked up his fourth PGA Tour win at The Honda Classic.

For the first time in four tries in his PGA Tour career, Fowler converted a 54-hole lead, maintaining the four-shot edge he had to start the final round at PGA National’s Champion Course. In the end, Fowler bogeyed the final hole to shoot 1-over 71 at cap off the win at 12-under 268.

The final round didn’t get off to a great start for Fowler, who, after a birdie on the par-5 third then dropped a shot at the following hole. Two holes later, Fowler’s tee shot found the water hazard left and led to a double bogey. However, Fowler steadied the ship, managing to not drop another shot on the front side. A par at the 10th hole kept his edge at two.

Back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes were the sealing circles on the card, scored with a 39-foot putt followed by a 24-footer.

Fowler came to the Bear Trap — holes 15, 16 and 17 at the Champion Course — needing to simply avoid disaster to win. He got through 15 and 16 in 1 under with an impressive birdie on the 16th hole. However, Fowler tried to cut his tee shot into the 17th into the green, toward the water. His ball started too far right and sailed too far right, finding the water hazard. Rather than bothering to even scope out if his ball was playable from the water, Fowler moved forward to the drop zone and put his third shot to 6 feet before converting the bogey putt.

From there, Fowler simply had to finish dry. He did that, albeit with a bogey, ending a winless drought that went back to the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship.

The victor credited his work over the first three rounds and his putter for getting him through a tough round in windy conditions.

“To be in the position I was after 54 holes here, give myself that cushion, allowed for a tough day today,” he said. “With the wind, there weren’t a whole lot of low scores. I think there were some early on. Some guys made some good moves. But other than that, like I said, I gave myself enough cushion where I could kind of get away a bad nine, which I started with, and then lucky enough, the putter saved me at times and gave me that cushion I needed on 12 and 13, and made a great swing into 16.”

The win, the cap to a great start, albeit on a limited schedule, to his season, puts Fowler in stout company that has won on the PGA Tour in 2017. Fowler humbly remains convinced he hasn’t earned the right to be mentioned in the same company as the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. Add in Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama, and that’s the lead crop of the next decade on the PGA Tour.

“I want to continue to play well and I want to be, whether I’m talked about with those guys or not, I just want to play the best that I can and keep pushing myself,” he said, “and ultimately just keep trying to put myself in position to win and start collecting more of these.”


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jordan Spieth cruises to 9th PGA Tour win in taking Pebble Beach title

Jordan Spieth had a comfortable walk up No. 18 on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth won on the PGA Tour for the ninth time in his young career on Sunday, cruising to a four-shot win in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Spieth didn’t need to do anything flashy on Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links; his Saturday round, a 7-under 65 highlighted by 13 one-putt greens gave him a six-shot edge heading into the final round. Barring a massive charge from in back of him, Spieth needed simply to finish the round somewhere around par to win. Spieth did just that, shooting 2-under 70 on the back of two birdies and 16 pars.

“We were trying to stay focused on the number, try to hit as many greens as possible, and really stuck to the game plan and played a lot of boring golf today, which is exactly what was needed,” Spieth said after the round.

His win going away continues a string of wins by players in their 20s throughout the 2016-17 season, including the last seven tournaments. Spieth was aware of the run of 20-something winners, including three on the season by friend Justin Thomas, but those guys hoisting trophies didn’t detract the Texan from his focus on redemption at Augusta National in April.

“I think for me I’m certainly focused on what we can do leading into the Masters this year, I know that it’s going to be as difficult as any to win,” he said. “In other words, what I’m trying to say is, I’m not really focused on what the other guys are doing, I think it’s great, but it doesn’t change or perceive the way I think of the win today or the way that this year’s gone for me.”

Spieth earned the win his 100th career PGA Tour start. In that span: nine wins (including two majors), 10 runner-up finishes and 44 top-10 finishes, as well a FedEx Cup title.

So, what’s the goal for the next 100?

“I guess a goal would be in the next hundred to make it look a little better than that,” Spieth said. “Always trying to get better.”


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Ethan Tracy holes out for eagle to land in Web.com Tour playoff, which he won

Ethan Tracy is a Web.com Tour winner, and he did it dramatic fashion. (Getty Images)

For Ethan Tracy, the right shot at the right time helped him score his first Web.com Tour win.

Tracy was about 100 yards from the hole location on the 18th hole at Bogota Country Club, in the final hole of regulation. At the time, Tracy had an idea that he could still win the tournament if he pulled off an unlikely hole out on the closing par 5. He took dead aim and produced an incredible result.

As it turned out, that eagle 3 was enough to reach 13-under total and land in a playoff with Mexico’s Roberto Diaz.

“I was trying to make it,” said Tracy. “I knew 13 (under) was the number. I was going to get it all the way back to that pin and if it went over so be it. I had to give it a chance.”

Tracy, who played the closing hole 5 under for the tournament, then went into extra holes with Diaz. Both made par the first time around, but Tracy was able to sink a birdie putt on the second playoff hole to pickup the win in just his fourth Web.com Tour start.

For the native Ohioan, this likely is a ticket to the PGA Tour — quite a turnaround from missing the cut in the first two events of the season in the Bahamas.

“I know I’m playing well and putted well this week,” said Tracy. “I just went home in the off-week and worked hard,
and it shows that my hard work is paying off.”


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Justin Timberlake nearly jars one on No. 7 at Pebble Beach

Justin Timberlake can pretty much do anything. Sing. Dance. Act. Play golf.

Yeah, Timberlake can play, and he put his game on full display on Saturday at Pebble Beach in the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. On the iconic par-3 seventh hole, Timberlake nearly made a hole-in-one on the 100-ish-yard par 3.

Meanwhile, Timberlake hits his tee shot as Justin Rose is taking a selfie behind him.

PEBBLE BEACH, CA – FEBRUARY 11: Justin Rose takes a photo of Justin Timberlake as he just misses a hole-in-one on the seventh hole during Round Three of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 11, 2017 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

While the shot doesn’t go in, Timberlake hits it inside a foot for a certain birdie.

Afterward, Timberlake and Rose spoke to Sky Sports with some great banter about the shot and their day.

Timberlake: We had some wind coming off the back and I just tried to play it down. Oh, my gosh. That would have been something, right.

Rose: This guy is all over. When the crowds turn up, he plays his best or when there’s the iconic 7th hole at Pebble, he’ll stiff it. You know what I mean?

Timberlake: I just close my eyes, really.

Rose: It’s all skill.

Fortunately, Rose and Timberlake made the 54-hole cut in the pro-am portion of the tournament, meaning we’ll get one more day with the Justins as they try to take down the pro-am title.

U.S. Golf Association increases U.S. Open purse from $10 million to $12 million

Dustin Johnson won $1.8 million at the U.S. Open last year. (Getty Images)

The U.S. Open is now the richest tournament in professional golf. The U.S. Golf Association announced at their annual meeting last week in Washington, D.C., that the national championship will boast a purse of $12 million, marking a $2 million increase from last year.

This means that the winner will earn more than $2 million — $2.16 million, to be exact — and mark a doubling of the purse since 2003.

The Open purse had been $10 million for each of the last two years, matched by the other major championships after the PGA of America and PGA Tour jointly announced an increase to $10 million for the purses of their respective crown-jewel tournaments, the PGA Championship and The Players Championship. In 2016, The Players was golf’s richest tournament, with a purse of $10.5 million.

It’s unclear if the bodies behind the three other men’s major championships will raise the stakes to match the U.S. Open purse.

In addition to the U.S. Open increase, the USGA is raising the U.S. Women’s Open purse to $5 million, $1.5 million more than the second-highest purse, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The U.S. Senior Open purse will be raised to $4 million, and the forthcoming U.S. Senior Women’s Open, which debuts in 2018, will be $4 million.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.