By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After shooting 84 playing alongside Tiger Woods in the final round of last year's Memorial tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, Rickie Fowler was looking for "a little redemption."
Instead, he got wet.
Trailing Woods by two with three to play at Bay Hill, Fowler hit his second shot, a 7-iron from 188 yards, on the par-5 "a little heavy." His ball, which was tracking directly at the flag, landed in the water short of the green.
Fowler took a drop and hit his next shot into the water, too, but by then it didn't matter.
"I was swinging it well, I made a few putts, and trying to put a little pressure on him, let him know I was there," Fowler said. "Just would like to have that 7‑iron back on 16.
"I had a perfect club there, so just unfortunate to make that swing at that time."
Fowler triple-bogeyed the hole and shot 73 to finish at 8 under, five shots back of Woods.
Despite the misstep, Fowler said he felt comfortable playing alongside Woods for the first time in a final pairing in the final round of a tournament.
It showed, mostly.
For the first 14 holes, Fowler made three birdies and no bogeys to stay within reach of Woods.
But just about every time Fowler made a move, Woods answered, including on the 12th hole, where Fowler poured in a 37-foot birdie putt only to watch Woods do the same from 10 feet closer moments later.
Two holes later, Fowler cut the deficit to two with another long birdie from just outside 20 feet.
On the par-4 15th, Fowler missed his approach left and couldn't get up and down for par, after his chip shot rolled 12 feet past the hole. Woods, however, made bogey as well and the margin stayed the same until the next hole.
For Fowler, it was the 15th straight start that he's made at least one double bogey (or worse) in the course of the week.
The timing of this one couldn't have been worse, though Fowler figured he needed eagle to have a chance.
"If I make three, he makes four, we cut it down to one, and a one‑shot lead for him going into the last two holes where there is a lot that can happen," Fowler said. "It was just unfortunate to catch that one a touch heavy."