February 27, 2017 / 4:50 AM / 5 months ago

Golf - Fowler closes deal, wins Honda Classic by four strokes

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Feb 26, 2017; Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA; Rickie Fowler hits his third shot out of a bunker on the eighteenth hole during the final round of The Honda Classic at PGA National (Champion). Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

REUTERS - American Rickie Fowler flirted with a late disaster before clinching a four-stroke victory at the $6.4 million Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday.

Fowler, previously 0-for-4 after starting the final round leading on the PGA Tour, frittered away almost all of his four-stroke advantage on a breezy day at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

But he steadied a leaky ship by sinking consecutive long birdie putts, a 40-footer at the 12th hole followed by a 25-footer at the next, and extended his lead to five strokes with two holes left.

He inexplicably found a water hazard with a poor seven-iron tee shot at the par-three 17th, but after taking a penalty stroke salvaged a bogey before taking a victory stroll down the last.

Fowler carded 71 to finish at 12-under-par 268 for his fourth PGA Tour victory. He will jump from 14th in the world rankings to inside the top 10.

Fellow Americans Gary Woodland and Morgan Hoffmann tied for second on eight-under.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Simon Evans

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