By Laney Mullaney, AJGA Communications
Rickie Fowler defeated Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner in a playoff to earn his biggest career win on Sunday at THE PLAYERS Championship. Playing well throughout the first three days of the tournament Fowler shot two consecutive 3-under-par 69s and a 1-under-par 71. He earned himself a spot in the playoff by shooting 6-under-par on his last six holes, for a 5-under-par 67 and a 12-under-par total. His spectacular play was highlighted by three birdies (including two in the playoff) on the infamous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.
“I’d say this is a pretty big one." - Rickie Fowler pic.twitter.com/O7BWyM5cYh— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 11, 2015
This victory brings Fowler to his career-high ranking of No. 8 in the world and marks his second victory on the PGA TOUR. During the 2014 season he became the third player in history to finish in the top-five in all four majors in a single year, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods and fellow Leadership Links supporter Jack Nicklaus.
Fowler turned pro in 2009 after an amateur career that included being the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world for a combined 36 weeks in 2007 and 2008 and two appearances on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup Team. He also earned five individual amateur titles, including a Big 12 Championship while at Oklahoma State University.
During the press conference after his win on Sunday, Fowler spoke about the time he birdied the first seven holes in his semifinal match against Peter Uihlein at the 2006 Polo Golf Junior Classic. He said it was one of the few times he remembered having a streak as good as the one that helped him claim THE PLAYERS Championship win.
It is creating memories like the one he shared during the press conference that has Fowler continuing his support of the AJGA. He will be returning to his partnership with the Leadership Links program for the second year, where he will spend a day golfing with the program’s top fundraisers.
At THE PLAYERS Championship, Fowler was joined by several other AJGA alumni in the field. Justin Thomas, currently in his first year on the PGA TOUR, carded a third-round 65, firing 10 birdies to set the TPC Sawgrass record for most birdies in one round. Thomas was one of five players who have The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf on their AJGA resumes, including Jordan Spieth, Morgan Hoffmann, Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka.
On the Symetra Tour, Alejandra Llaneza earned her first victory on Sunday by winning the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. Llaneza, a University of Arizona alumnae who earned three top-10 finishes during her time in the AJGA, took home a one-stroke victory over Casey Grice. Grice, a 2010 Rolex Junior All-American, earned two AJGA victories before playing golf at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, and Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, currently ranked No. 1 and 3 in the Polo Golf Rankings, teamed up for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, and became the youngest team to make it to the semifinals. The former Wyndham Cup West teammates are both class of 2015 graduates, who have signed a National Letter of Intent to play college golf. Burns will play at Louisiana State University and Connelly at the University of Arkansas.
Connelly and Burns hold on against Simone and Bacon, winning 2 and 1, to advance to the Semifinals of the #USFourBall— USGA (@USGA) May 6, 2015