Rickie Fowler birdied the opening hole Sunday at Albany Golf Club and never looked back. Here’s how things ended up at the Hero World Challenge, where Fowler rallied past Charley Hoffman to win while the tournament host ended on a high note:
Leaderboard: Rickie Fowler (-18), Charley Hoffman (-14), Tommy Fleetwood (-12), Jordan Spieth (-12), Hideki Matsuyama (-11), Patrick Reed (-11), Tiger Woods (-8)
What it means: Fowler started the day seven shots off the pace, while Hoffman sat five shots ahead of his next closest competitor. But Fowler put on a show from the very start, with birdies on each of his first seven holes en route to a course-record 61. It’s unofficially his best career round on Tour, and it means a second title this year for Fowler following his Honda Classic triumph in February to close a remarkably solid campaign.
Round of the day: It’s hard to imagine a better start to a round than Fowler’s opening stretch at Albany. He birdied every hole from No. 1-7 and added another circle at the par-5 ninth to make the turn in 28, only to add three more over the next six holes to break away from the field and briefly entertain thoughts of a 59. Instead it was a bogey-free 61 after closing with three straight pars, six shots better than the next best score on Sunday.
Best of the rest: Woods fell back with a third-round 75, but he ended the week on a high note following a 4-under 68 that included three birdies and an eagle over his first nine holes. Dressed in his traditional Sunday red and black, he flashed some vintage form while carding one of the day’s low rounds despite a double bogey on No. 10. It’s a strong result for Woods, whose T-9 finish largely exceeded expectations in his first start in 10 months.
Biggest disappointment: Hoffman entered the day 0-for-4 with the 54-hole lead, but staked to a five-shot lead that drought seemed destined to end. Instead he could only watch as Fowler raced past him, knocking in birdie after birdie on a day when Hoffman’s scorecard ended with nine straight pars. It’s been a strong 2017 for the veteran, highlighted by his first Presidents Cup appearance, but it will end without a tournament win.
Shot of the day: Fowler’s birdie streak appeared in jeopardy after he pushed his tee shot on the par-3 fifth hole into a greenside bunker. Instead he splashed out and watched the ball hit the pin and drop for the fifth of what would be seven straight birdies with which he opened the round.
Quote of the day: “Seven was the most I had made before (in a row), so I was really trying to make that eighth.” – Fowler on opening birdie streak