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May 7, 2012

Fowler's playoff birdie gives him first TOUR win

Rickie Fowler employed an aggressive playing style during his AJGA career, so it was fitting that a pin-seeking approach led to his first PGA TOUR victory Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

 

In a playoff against D.A. Points and Rory McIlroy, Fowler hit a 133-yard gap wedge to four feet, and clinched the victory with a birdie on a hole that had surrendered just four during the final round.

 

“I hit the perfect shot at the right time, and I was going for it,” Fowler said during his press conference Sunday. “It's a good feeling right now. Definitely some relief, satisfaction. I'm definitely happy. It's not a bad thing, winning. It's kind of fun.”

 
Fowler developed his winning ways as an amateur and was victorious on some of junior golf’s biggest stages. Wins at the Hudson Junior and Western Junior Amateur in 2005 were precursors to his breakout campaign in 2006, which included a win at the HP Boys Championship. His lone AJGA Invitational victory came at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge against a field that included Peter Uihlein, Kyle Stanely, Bud Cauley and Patrick Reed.
 

“After the first two days of play, I knew I had to come in and put up some scores,” said an 18-year-old Fowler, who went 11-under-par in the final 36 holes en route to a four-shot victory.

 

AJGA Bio

  • Two time Rolex Junior All-American (2005, 2006)
  • 12 AJGA top 10s in 13 starts
  • Won 2006 HP Boys Championship (held at Bay Hill)
  • Posted 2-2-0 record for victorious West Wyndham Cup Team in 2006

 This interview with Rickie was taken at the 2006 I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk
 

One week later at Wyndham Cup, known then as Canon Cup, Fowler teamed with Kyle Stanley in four-ball and squared off in a singles match against the East’s Peter Uihlein. Alongside teammates Esther Choe (Symetra Tour), Tiffany Lua (UCLA) and Andrew Yun (Stanford), Fowler’s 2-2-0 record helped the West Team retain the Cup at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

 

“At the 2006 Wyndham Cup, Rickie showed an unbeatable spirit and a go-for-broke game strategy that rallied his team to another victory. I love that he has not changed over the years and stayed true to his style of competing,” said Beth Dockter, captain of the 2006 West Wyndham Cup Team. “It was only a matter of time before he notched his first victory on the PGA TOUR.”

 

With his AJGA experience as a foundation, Fowler went on to win the Players Amateur and Sunnehanna Amateur in 2007, which helped him secure a berth on the U.S. Walker Cup Team. Playing with nine fellow AJGA alumni, including Stanley, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson, Fowler and the Americans defeated a Great Britain & Ireland team that included Rory McIlroy.

 

During his two-year career at Oklahoma State, Fowler amassed several national honors, including Big 12 Player of the Year (2008), PING first-team All-American (2008, 2009) and the Ben Hogan Award (2008). In his first season on the PGA TOUR in 2010, he finished the year No. 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings and was named Rookie of the Year. Coupled with his win at the 2011 Kolon Korea Open, Fowler now has two victories as a professional.