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Matsuyama wins in Phoenix as Fowler finds water

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rickie Fowler hit two balls into the water on the par-4 17th hole to give Hideki Matsuyama an unexpected playoff victory Sunday in the Phoenix Open.

Overcome by emotion thinking about his family, Fowler broke down in tears in the media center.

"The hard part is having all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven't seen me win," Fowler said. "But I will be able to kind of hang with them tonight. I'll be all right."

Fowler blew a two-shot lead on the 317-yard 17th in regulation when he blasted a driver through the green and into the water, with the ball traveling nearly 360 yards.

"I'm hitting a chip-cut driver," he said. "Usually, don't expect it to hit on the downslope and then go 360."

Using a 3-wood in the playoff, he pulled his drive into the lake just short of the green.

"Hit it solid," Fowler said. "Just hit it a little high on the face and it just got up and left a little quicker than I was expecting and wanted."

Matsuyama birdied the hole in regulation to tie for the lead, chipping to 21/2 feet. In the playoff, he chipped to 6 feet and two-putted to win after Fowler missed a 10-foot par.

"Surprised and sad that Rickie finished that way, but all I can do is my best," Matsuyama said through a translator. "I was lucky to come out on top."

Fowler forced the playoff with a 10-foot birdie on the par-4 18th after Matsuyama made an 18-footer. They each shot 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under 270 at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.

"The putt I made there was probably the best putt I have ever made in my life," Matsuyama said.

The playoff was just as dramatic.

They played the 18th hole twice to open. Then on the par-4 10th on the third extra hole, Fowler saved par with a 12-foot putt after driving into the left rough and skulling his approach long and right. Matsuyama made a 5-footer to extend the playoff.

"This one hurts," Fowler said.

The crowd of 65,330 pushed the four-day total to a record 618,365, shattering the 564,368 set last year.

Harris English (66) was third and Round 3 leader Danny Lee (73) fourth. Phil Mickelson (71) tied for 11th.

Champions: Esteban Toledo parred the third playoff hole to win the Allianz Championship over Billy Andrade at Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton. Toledo made a 4-foot putt after Andrade's 6-foot par try lipped out on the par-4 17th hole. Toledo (67) and Andrade (68) finished at 11-under 205.

PGA European: Danny Willett made a 15-foot birdie on the final hole to win the Dubai Desert Classic by one shot in United Arab Emirates. Willett (3-under 69) was at 19-under 269 to edge Andy Sullivan (68) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (69). Rory McIlroy had the best round of the day at 65 to tie for sixth at 273 with Henrik Stenson (66).

Matsuyama wins in Phoenix as Fowler finds water 02/07/16 [Last modified: Sunday, February 7, 2016 9:24pm]
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