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Strong finish lifts Fowler to Phoenix Open lead
February 05, 2018
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Los Angeles: Rickie Fowler birdied his last three holes to seize a one-stroke lead over world number two Jon Rahm and two others Saturday at the US PGA Tour Phoenix Open.

Fowler, who shared the overnight lead with Bryson DeChambeau rolled a nine-foot birdie putt into the heart of the cup at the 18th hole of TPC Scottsdale to move atop the jammed leaderboard, firing a four-under 67 for 14-under 199.

Rahm, chasing Dustin Johnson’s world number one ranking, carded a six-under par 65 and was joined on 200 by DeChambeau, who signed for a 68 and Chez Reavie, who carded a 67.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson carded a 66 to head a group on 201. He was tied with reigning Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele (66) and Daniel Berger (68).

Six more players were just three off the pace on 202.

World number seven Fowler, whose history of strong showings in Phoenix include a runner-up finish in 2010 and a playoff loss to Hideki Matsuyama in 2016, was rewarded for his patience with a sizzling finish to the day.

DeChambeau, seeking his second tour victory, was 14-under after three straight birdies at 13, 14, and 15, but he gave a stroke back at 17 where he was in the water off the tee.

Rahm, seeking a fifth worldwide title in the last year and his second US tour victory in three weeks, was two-under through nine and responded to a bogey at the 10th with birdies at 11, 13, 15 and 16.

Mickelson, who also played college golf in Arizona and is a three-time Phoenix Open winner, is another fan favorite at the always raucous tournament.

The 47-year-old is seeking his 43rd PGA Tour title, and his first title since the 2013 British Open.

Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year, got off to a dream start with six birdies to open his round.

But it devolved into a nightmare that included three bogeys, a triple-bogey and a double-bogey and his even par 71 left him eight strokes adrift.

Sharma prevails

India’s Shubhankar Sharma fired 10 birdies to stun crowds and secure a two-shot win at the $3 million Maybank Championship in Malaysia on Sunday.

It is the second Asian Tour and European Tour victory for the 21-year-old, who pocketed $500,000 and triumphed with a 10-under-par 62 on the final day of the tournament just two months after clinching the Joburg Open. Speaking to reporters after the win, the world number 193 said 10 was his lucky number.

“It’s always tough to make more birdies when you’re trailing the leaders, but I was calm and fantastic, so it was great,” he said.

“I’ve had a few 10-under pars, the first one I shot was in Manila two years back. And then I shot 10-under again in Joburg to win, so that number is lucky for me.” In sweltering conditions, Sharma came into the final round tied-19th, needing to make up four shots to catch overnight leaders Spaniard Jorge Campillo and South African Dylan Frittelli.

His road to victory began with an incredible four consecutive birdies, which included a 15-foot putt at the seventh hole.

Agencies

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