SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Branden Grace had never experienced a moment quite like the one that happened Sunday afternoon on TPC Scottsdale’s par-3 16th hole.
Grace tapped in his par putt to keep a share of the lead with fan favorite Rickie Fowler, who was 4 over through 15 holes thanks in large part to a triple bogey at No. 11.
What he heard next was shocking.
“I think 16 is the first time in my life where I was booed to make par on 16,” Grace said. “But it’s just how it goes.”
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A hole later, some fans were cheering when Grace pulled his tee ball into the water, trying to go for the green at the drivable par-4 17th, and then hit his chip shot through the green and into a bunker. He bogeyed to drop a shot behind Fowler, who followed Grace with a birdie at the penultimate hole.
Fowler recovered from his disastrous start to shoot 3-over 74 and finish at 17 under, two clear of Grace, who closed in 69 in his Phoenix Open debut.
“This place was nuts. It’s everything and more than what I expected and what a fun week it was,” he said. “I can’t take anything for granted and I had to dig deep today and I did that. It’s just unfortunately one bad shot.”