By Ron Patey
Rickie Fowler caught third-round leader Henrik Stenson down the stretch to win the Deutsche Bank Championship after snap-hooking a drive into the jungle on the first hole of the third round. Fowler fixed his loose driving game quickly and kept in touch with Stenson throughout the afternoon. A 40-footer for birdie at the par-4 14th got him within a shot. And that’s where Fowler was situated on the leaderboard as he and Stenson teed off at the pivotal par-3 16th.
Fowler stuck his tee shot about 24 feet from the cup and went on to easily two-putt for par. Stenson and his caddy decided, regrettably, to go with a 7-iron on the 187-yard hole. The poor choice of club effectively cost Stenson the championship, as the oncoming breeze caught the ball and shoved it into the water hazard. The resulting double-bogey gave Fowler a one-stroke advantage. That proved to be the margin of victory, as both players recorded pars on 17 and 18. The Californian moved from 22nd to third in the FedExCup standings, trailing only Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.
Despite the stinging loss, Stenson remains in the fourth spot and is still in the hunt. His two second-place finishes — he lost out to Day at The Barclays last week — establish him as the most consistent player in the FedExCup Playoffs so far. Fowler’s Deutsche Bank Championship gives him a third win in his breakout season to go along with The Players in May and the Scottish Open in July.
Next On The Tee: BMW Championship
The players get a week off before the BMW Championship in Chicago. The break couldn’t come at a more opportune time for Jordan Spieth, the former FedExCup point leader and the season’s original shooting star. The Texan has hit a rough patch in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Although he’s only 511 points behind Day, the season’s latest shooting star, the reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion must do better than the 75, 73 scores he carded this past week if his plans include earning the Player of the Year award.
Day, who also has his sights focused squarely on a Player of the Year award trophy, didn’t hurt himself much by finishing T12 this week.
Very few folks are chatting up Jim Furyk’s chances of snagging his second FedExCup in five years, even though he managed a T4 at TPC Boston and T11 at The Barclays. Thanks to his steady fairways and greens approach, Furyk is now inside the top 10 of the points standings. His clutch short-game avoids many of the mistakes the big hitters make when crunch time rolls around.
Conway Farms Golf Club plays 7,149 yards and is a par 71.
Favorites: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler
Players To Watch: Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy
Ron Patey covered the golf industry for 21 years as a special sections editor with Sun Media. During the past five years, Patey has been a golf writer for Examiner.com.