Fowler Beats Morikawa, Hadwin With Playoff Birdie in Rocket Mortgage

Rickie Fowler is all the way back.

Fowler sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to turn back Adam Hadwin of Canada and Collin Morikawa to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Wayne County, Mich.

“I was kind of just still and quiet and everyone was going crazy around me,” said Fowler, who claimed his sixth PGA Tour victory, but first since the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. “It’s amazing to have the following that I’ve had and then the people that have always been in my corner and pulled for me and supported me, but you also deal with the other side, which is unfortunate. It feels good because I know a lot of people are excited and happy for me.

“It’s just nice to have this one out of the way. I’m obviously going to soak this one in and celebrate a bit. Yeah, it’s just been a long road. I’m not scared to fail. I’ve dealt with plenty of that. I’m just trying to get back to playing golf rather than worrying and playing golf swing.

“It just feels amazing to finally win again, especially the way I did.”

Fowler, from Murrieta in Southern California, held a two-stroke lead on the front nine but had to sink a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation after a brilliant approach from 144 yards to cap a bogey-free, four-under-par 68 to tie Morikawa and Hadwin at 23-under 264.

Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal, collected four birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 64, while Hadwin birdied two of the last four holes to complete a bogey-free 67.

On the playoff hole, Hadwin missed a 22-foot birdie putt and Morikawa failed to hole his birdie chip, leaving the door open for Fowler.

“(Fowler has) been playing phenomenal golf, so it’s great to see him win again,” said Morikawa, who has won five times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in Kent, England. “People love him. The fans still come out to see him no matter how he’s playing, but he’s been playing well again lately.

“ … Playoffs suck when you’re on the wrong side of them. You put everything you want into it and comes down to one hole, but that’s what golf is. You’ve got to perform, you’ve got to execute the shots. I truly thought I hit the perfect approach shot (on the playoff hole) and I just was a little juiced, so it went a little too far.”

Said Hadwin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 Valspar Championship: “My putt on the playoff hole looked really good, but I hit it just a little bit too hard. I had a sneaking suspicion Rickie was going to make it, right after seeing my ball kind of roll right past. But give him all the credit. He birdied 18 to get into the playoff and then he birdied the first playoff hole.”

Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, birdied the last three holes for a 65 and finished three strokes behind in a tie for fourth with Taylor Moore, who birdied the last two to cap a 67, and Peter Kuest, who was tied for the first-round lead at 64 and closed with a 68.

Adam Schenk was four shots back in solo seventh after making four straight birdies through the turn in a 66, followed one more down in eighth by Justin Lower, who made four birdies and a bogey in his 69.

Stephan Jaeger of Germany sank a 19-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole and added seven birdies in a bogey-free 63 and was six down in a tie for ninth with Alex Noren of Sweden, who had a bogey-free 67; Peter Malnati and Brian Harman, who both had five birdies and a bogey in their 68s, and Aaron Rai of England, who made two birdies and a bogey in his 71.

Ninth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal hit the shot of the week when me made a hole-in-one from 150 yards on the 15th hole to highlight his 67 and wound up in a tie for 21st that included 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who won the Travelers Championship last week and closed with a 68.

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