The Masters is now 62 days away and we’re getting a better look at how some of the household names in golf are fairing this 2019 PGA Tour season. This past week, Rickie Fowler(-17) closed out the Waste Management Phoenix Open by the skin of his teeth, holding off Branden Grace(-15) in the final round.
Fowler, who shot a 74 on Sunday, saw his 5 stroke lead going into the day cut to 1 in part to a triple bogey on the 11th. After a shot that rolled past the green and into the water, Fowler was forced to drop. Trying to maintain his cool in the situation, Fowler’s drop on the 11th also rolled into the water without him approaching the ball. By rule, this second fall into the water is another stroke, a rule that left Fowler in a tough situation as he was trying to claim his first PGA Tour victory in almost 2 full years.
Entering the 11th, Fowler was 19 under with what seemed to be a commanding lead. Leaving the hole was a different story. The hole cost Rickie 3 strokes and saw his lead shrink to 1 at 16 under. With Branden Grace right on his heels, Fowler birdied the 15th and 18th while Grace bogeyed the 17th. Escaping from another Sunday collapse, Fowler hopes to continue his winning ways into The Masters this upcoming April.
The 2018 Masters was the closest Fowler has come to a major victory, finishing in second place behind winner Patrick Reed. Coincidentally, second place is as best as Fowler has ever finished. 2014 saw Fowler come in second twice in both the US Open and The Open Championship across the pond. He also finished in third place at the PGA Championship that year.
Having been close so many times, is this the year Rickie finally gets over the hump? The fan favorite Fowler has 14/1 odds to win the tournament, the best odds of his career for The Masters. Players in front of Fowler on the betting line include co-favorites Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods (12/1), 2018 US Open and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka (13/1) and 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas (13/1).