After Rickie Fowler shot a 70 on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship while playing partners Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy bested him, the least decorated of the three was largely written off. If not on paper then at least in our heads. So, of course, he closed with rounds of 68, 65 and 69 to win by one over Thomas Pieters and two over McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.
"It was a lot of fun today," Fowler said of his final round 69 that included a double bogey, an eagle and three birdies.
A tournament Fowler controlled most of the day hung in the balance briefly on the 17th hole. McIlroy had just made eagle on the final hole to draw within one. Fowler had missed the green on No. 17. He slammed the door swiftly with a birdie, though, and other than the scare of a playoff from Pieters at the last hole, the tournament was over.
European Tour events are sometimes looked upon poorly by those of us in the United States because they are filled with golfers we don't know and take place in the middle of the night. This was a big one for Fowler with a monstrous field to boot.
McIlroy and Stenson finished 14-uunder tied for third.
Spieth finished tied for fifth at 11-under.
Spieth, Jason Day, McIlroy and Fowler are expected to be the top four in the world later today when the newest World Golf Rankings are released.