Rickie Fowler captured the Hero World Challenge with a brilliant final round and received the trophy from tournament host Tiger Woods, who also had a big week.
Fowler birdied the first seven holes on his way to a bogey-free, 11-under-par 61 to win by four strokes over Charley Hoffman at Albany Resort in New Providence, Bahamas.
“Seven (consecutive birdies) was the most I’d made before, so I was really trying to get that eighth,, said Fowler, after coming from seven shots down to capture the unofficial PGA Tour event that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. “But I knew I needed to get off to a quick start today to at least show Charley I was there and get up there on the board a little bit.
“I knew (59) was at least within reach, but I’m just happy with playing solid on the back nine, making some good swings. Really stepping up on 16, 17 and 18.
“ … We can build on some things to make next year a special one.”
Fowler, from Murrieta in Southern California, followed his first par at No. 8 with four more birdies over the next seven holes en route to a 72-hole score of 18-under 270.
Woods, playing for the first time since February after undergoing his fourth back surgery in recent years, eagled the seventh hole on his way to a 68 and wound up 10 shots back in a tie for ninth.
“I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds, that wasn’t going to be any issue,” said Woods, who displayed some of his former brilliance and seemed to have no physical problems. “The issue was going to be, ‘How is my scoring going to be? How is my feel? How am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while?’
“Overall I’m very pleased. I showed some good signs, hit some good shots out there. I think that we’re going to sit down here and we’re going to figure out what’s the best way for me to build my schedule for the major championships, play enough, but don’t play too much.”
Hoffman, the 40-year-old from Poway who led after the second and third rounds, parred his last nine holes and couldn’t stay with Fowler while shooting 72.
Tommy Fleetwood of England, winner of the 2017 Race to Dubai on the European Tour, carded a 67 and was six shots back in a tie for third with second-ranked Jordan Spieth, who totaled 69.
Defending champion and fifth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama of Japan closed with a 68 and was another stroke behind in a tie for fifth with sixth-ranked Justin Rose of England, who had a 70, and Patrick Reed, who finished with a 68.
Francesco Molinari of Italy closed with a 70 to wind up eight down in solo eighth, while Woods was tied for ninth with Matt Kuchar, who came in at 71.
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