Fowler wins Hero World Challenge with new Cobra Puma Golf KING F8+ driver
Albany, Bahamas, December 3: After beginning the day seven strokes behind 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler, the face of Cobra Puma Golf, stormed up the leaderboard with a tournament-record, final-round 11-under 61 to win the Hero World Challenge by four strokes over Hoffman.
Fowler finished with a 72-hole winning total of 18-under 270. In comparison, the largest final-round, come-from-behind victory at the Hero World Challenge is 12 strokes (Tom Lehman/2000).
Fowler’s victory comes at the age of 28 years, 11 months and 20 days. Prior to Fowler’s 61, the previous low final round score by a Hero World Challenge winner was 64, set on three occasions and most recently by Luke Donald in 2005.
Host Tiger Woods, the winner of 79 career PGA TOUR titles including 14 major championships, finished T9 in his return to competition this week at the Hero World Challenge. With rounds of 68-68-75-68, Woods finished 10 strokes behind Rickie Fowler.
Woods owns five victories (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011) and five runner-up finishes (most recent to Zach Johnson in 2013) in 15 prior Hero World Challenge starts.
A missed cut at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open marks Woods’ last start on the PGA TOUR. Before this week, his last round in a tournament was an opening-round 77 before withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (February 2).
After beginning the day with a five-stroke cushion over Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose, Charley Hoffman posted a final-round even-par 72 to finish in second place (four strokes behind Rickie Fowler). In official PGA TOUR events, Hoffman has led/co-led following the third round four times, most recently carrying that lead on to a runner-up finish at the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. He has never gone on to win after leading/co-leading after the third round.
With a final-round 3-under 69, 2014 World Challenge champion Jordan Spieth finished T3 in his fifth start at the Hero World Challenge (T16-2013, 1-2014, 4-2015, T6-2016, T3-2017). He won in 2014 by a record 10 strokes over Henrik Stenson with a tournament-record 26-under 262, becoming the first player to win the event in wire-to-wire fashion. Albany resident Justin Rose posted a final-round 2-under 70 to finish T5.
Fowler opened his round with seven birdies before making his first par on the par-4 eighth hole. In comparison (in official PGA TOUR events), that would equal the longest such streak to open a round since Joe Durant had seven in a row at the beginning of round four at the 2005 Honda Classic.
Fowler made the turn in 8-under 28, for to a two-stroke lead at the time.
Bogey-free Fowler posted 11 birdies on the day. In official PGA TOUR events, his benchmark is nine birdies in the final round of The National in 2017.
Fowler finished this week with 30 birdies, three more than his highest total in official PGA TOUR events (27 – 2017 Houston Open).
In 197 official PGA TOUR starts, Fowler owns four victories: 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, 2015 THE PLAYERS Championship, 2015 Dell Technologies Championship, 2017 The Honda Classic.
Fowler won in his sixth start at the Hero World Challenge. Fowler is coming off of a seven-place finish in the FedExCup, the third time in eight seasons he has finished inside the top 10.
Meanwhile, defending champion Hideki Matsuyama finished T5 in his attempt to join Tiger Woods (2006-07) as the only players to win the Hero World Challenge in back-to-back seasons. This week marked Matsuyama’s fourth start at the Hero World Challenge (13/2014, T17/2015, 1/2016, T5/2017).
With rounds of 69-70-74-68, 2017 FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year Justin Thomas finished in 11th place in his first start at the Hero World Challenge. Thomas was paired with tournament host Tiger Woods this week, with both posting 3-under 69s on day one and 4-under 68s on day four.
Henrik Stenson, with wife Emma serving as his caddie this week, finished in 17th place, marking the first time in five starts he failed to record a top-five finish at the Hero World Challenge. Prior to this week, he had posted runner-up finishes in his last two starts (2014, 2016).
Hero World Challenge Final-Round Leaderboard
Rickie Fowler 67-70-72-61—270 (-18)
Charley Hoffman 69-63-70-72—274 (-14)
Tommy Fleetwood 66-69-74-67—276 (-12)
Jordan Spieth 68-67-72-69—276 (-12)
Hideki Matsuyama 71-66-72-68 —277 (-11)
Justin Rose 68-68-71-70 —277(-11)
Patrick Reed 72-66-71-68 —277(-11)
Francesco Molinari 69- 68-71-70— 278 (-10)
Tiger Woods 69-68-75-68— 280 (-8)