Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fowler Leads by Four Shots Going to Final Round at PGA National

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fowler Leads by Four Shots Going to Final Round at PGA National

Article excerpt

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. * Another strong finish over the closing stretch Saturday. Another big lead after 54 holes.

Rickie Fowler can only hope that Sunday at the Honda Classic turns out as easy as it did the last two weeks on the PGA Tour, when Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson converted big leads into inevitable victories.

Fowler made two birdies over the final three holes to cap a 5-under 65 that gave him a four-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton of England as Fowler tries to end a frustrating year of not winning anywhere in the world.

"It would be nice to follow in their footsteps," Fowler said. "But I do have a lot of work to do tomorrow. A four-shot lead is nice. That can obviously go away very quickly, too."

Fowler holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th, got a potential break with a ruling behind the 17th green that allowed him to use a putter instead of a wedge, and then closed with a drive so bold and big that he had only a 7-iron into the par-5 18th to set up a two-putt birdie.

That put him at 13-under 197 with plenty of room for error.

Spieth made three birdies over his last four holes Saturday at Pebble Beach to build a six-shot lead (he won by four). A week later, Johnson birdied his last three holes at Riviera to build a five-shot lead and won by that margin.

The difference could be PGA National, with all its water and a forecast of strong wind for the final round.

"If you're playing from three, four shots behind, you can't make a mistake," Fowler said. "When you're out front, four shots, I make a mistake, OK, we're still up. ... To be out front and be in control and with the way I feel about the game, the way I've been swinging, I'm looking forward to it."

Fowler is 5 under over the final four holes at PGA National so far this week.

"Birdies happen in the Bear Trap," he said, referring to the closing stretch. "But other numbers do, as well."

Hatton did his work before that stretch, running off three straight birdies to get within one of the lead. …

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