Fowler grabs the 54-hole lead with a shot at 14-under 199
Image: PGA Tour
Rickie Fowler grabs the 54-hole lead at Waste Management Phoenix Open with four-under-par 67 for the day consisting five birdies, three of them coming back to back on the last three holes, and a bogey on par-3 4th.
Fowler has a long list of heartbreaking results here and the closest he came for a victory was in 2016 when he lost to Hideki Matsuyama after a four-hole sudden death playoff. Fowler finished second in 2010, and finished T-4th last year. He was stuck in neutral for much of the third round but birdied the last three holes to shoot 67 taking his total to 14-under 199 and staying one-shot clear from Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Earlier in the round, Hideki Matsuyama had to pull out of the event due to a possible wrist injury, he was defending his title for the consecutive second time. He did receive some treatment on his left hand prior to his second round, but deemed the injury too serious and withdrew before hitting a shot.
“The pain in my left thumb area started on the 13th hole yesterday. I did some treatment last night, but the pain was still there this morning when I practiced. I decided that it was not worth forcing myself to continue to play and worsen the injury, so I was disappointed that I had to withdraw. As much as I wanted to continue to play and with the three-peat in mind, the pain was just too much.”
Jordan Spieth missed his cut for the weekend following a hurtful 70 on Friday. Spieth was heckled twice, once each on Thursday and Friday, on Thursday in the middle of his downswing on his final hole, a female fan shouted “Tater tots!”, the lady was removed, and on Friday when Jordan was battling to make himself the cut a fan shouted: “I have 100 bucks on you, Jordan!” Needles to say Spieth missed the cut, his first missed cut in over eight months.
Phil Mickelson is looking strong in contention with two strokes back at 12-under 201 with a fabulous bogey-free five under 66 for the day. Mickelson is a three-time Waste Management champion and is trying to win for the first time since 2013.
Mickelson is joined by Xander Schauffele and Daniel Berger for a T-5th position on the board.
The story of the day was made by Justin Thomas who showed how things can quickly turn downhill even though you have birdied the first six holes. Thomas entered the round four shot back and soon he led the field by two before his round took an upside downturn on the back nine with two birdies, two bogeys, a triple-bogey on the par-5 15th, and a double-bogey on the par-3 16th, reminding everyone TPC Scottsdale is tough to handle.
Thomas finished the round for a 71, taking his total to 6-under 207 for a T26th finish with Brandt Snedeker, Chad Campbell, Patton Kizzire, Austin Cook, Jason Kokrak, Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson, and Byeong Hun An.