Mahan rallies to win Phoenix Open|
Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) - Hunter Mahan posted a bogey-free, six-under
65 Sunday to win the Phoenix Open by one stroke over Rickie Fowler.
Mahan, who played the final 36 hole at the TPC Scottsdale without a bogey,
finished at 16-under-par 268. It was his second PGA Tour title.
"It means a lot. Where I was on Friday, making the turn at even-par, to play
the way I did down the stretch and make some of the putts I needed to, it
feels great," said Mahan, who earned $1.08 million for the win. "I played
great. Tee to green it was flawless and boy is feels good."
Fowler, who was trying to become the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since
Tiger Woods in 1996, closed with a three-under 68 to end one back at minus-15.
Reigning PGA Champion Y.E. Yang owned the lead after four straight birdies on
the back nine. However, a bogey at 17 left him two back at 14-under-par 270
after he shot a six-under 65 in the final round.
On a day when six different players owned at least a piece of the lead, Mahan
caught fire on the back nine to soar into the lead.
Mahan birdied the sixth and ninth to make the turn at 12-under. He trailed by
one heading to the back nine, but that deficit grew when Yang caught fire.
Yang made eagle on the 10th, then poured in four straight birdie efforts from
the 12th to soar into the lead at 15-under. However, Yang pulled his drive
into the water at the short par-four 17th. That led to a bogey and he parred
the last to get in at minus-14.
Mahan hit three-wood to eight feet at the par-five 13th and rolled in that
eagle putt to move within one of Yang's lead. Mahan grabbed a share of the
lead at 15-under with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 14th.
The 27-year-old Mahan sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th to take
the lead at 16-under. He two-putted for par on the final two holes, then had
to watch and see if Fowler could catch him.
"The putt [on 18] was so straight. I was looking for something, but it was
dead straight and I put a good stroke on it," said Mahan, who played most of
the round with a back-up driver after he found a crack in his original driver
on the second hole.
"It was a great to have a round that mattered and really be in contention
again and do what I did."
Fowler ran home a 35-footer for birdie on the fifth to grab a share of the
lead at 13-under. He parred seven in a row from the sixth.
On the back nine, Fowler converted seven-foot birdie putt on the 13th and came
right back with a 20-foot birdie putt on 14 to join Mahan at 15-under.
Fowler couldn't keep up though. He made an interesting decision to lay up on
the par-five 15th. Fowler was unable to make birdie there, then missed a 14-
foot birdie effort on the 16th.
"In the position I was, I may have gone for it if I was a few back, but the
tournament isn't won on 15, the way I look at it," Fowler explained of his
decision to lay up on 15.
"I felt really comfortable getting a wedge in my hand with a good number that
I had and hit it a little soft. I thought I could hit it in there close and
give myself a chance at birdie. With the pin in front, if you miss left or
right there, it's a tough up and down."
The former Oklahoma State star parred the 17th and was just under
30 feet from the hole at the last. Fowler's birdie effort to force a playoff
slid by the right edge giving Mahan his second PGA Tour title.
Charles Howell III, Mathew Goggin and Chris Couch all closed with three-under
68s to share fourth place at 13-under-par 271. Vaughn Taylor was one back at
minus-12 after a 68 of his own.
Camilo Villegas, who owned at least a piece of the lead after the first two
rounds, closed with a 71 to share eighth, with five other players, at
Third-round leader Brandt Snedeker faltered to a seven-over 78 to tumble into
a share of 43rd at seven-under-par 277. That means just three of eight 54-hole
leaders or co-leaders has hung on to win this season.
NOTES: Of the nine former champions that made the cut, Tom Lehman had the best
finish at he tied to 14th at minus-10...Two-time winner Phil Mickelson shared
24th with 1993 champ Lee Janzen...Last year's champion Kenny Perry closed with
a two-under 69 to end in a tie for 53rd at minus-five...The PGA Tour heads to
Florida next week, where Yang will defend his title at the Honda Classic.
02/28 20:23:22 ET