Sometimes, you might think, Rickie Fowler takes the “nice guy” thing a little too far.
Rickie was nice enough to show up at Mayakoba last week, ending his vacation from golf a bit early.
Things got a little testy for Rickie and the rest of the guys down there at the OHL Classic. Day one was good enough, Rickie shot 65 and let everyone know that maybe he did practice a little while he was away from the PGA Tour.
Then the weather got crazy and by Sunday morning, everyone had to get up well before the crack of dawn because guess what fellas? We’re going 36.
Patton Kizzire got everyone’s attention last Thursday when he shot 62, even with a bogey on the last hole. Bummer.
Day two was a wash. They spent most of Saturday getting that in and the die was cast when Fowler and Kizzire were both 10-under at the halfway point.
Kizzire cut Fowler by a shot early Sunday — 66 for Patton, 67 for Rickie as they played together and would head out again, head-to-head in the afternoon.
Nice tall order for Kizzire, a kid from Alabama who went to Auburn and his accent says “100 percent Southern.”
All you have to do is beat the world’s No. 10, everyone’s expecting Rickie in the winner’s circle, good luck Patton.
Kizzire was a dominant Web.com player in 2015, earned his card easily and got into the hunt a number of times in 2016, including the Safeway where he lost to Brendan Steele. He was basically no stranger to the heat of a final round on the PGA Tour.
So what’s the best thing to do when you’re trying to pick up that first win? Yes, Kizzire birdied three of the first five holes to start his final round, got to 18-under par real quick and put some distance between him and Rickie. Rickie helped out with a pair of front-nine bogeys that basically offset his three birdies.
Kizzire then upped the lead to four shots with a birdie at 11, Rickie closed the gap with one at 13 but was still three behind.
Stayed that way through 15, the kid from Auburn had some breathing room with three to play, three shots better than Rickie. But hold your horses, it’s never that easy on the PGA Tour.
Fowler made a 12-footer for birdie at 16 then another at 17. Guess what Patton? Your three shot lead was one shot going into 18.
Kizzire watched Rickie drill a perfect drive at 18 then did what any other non-winner might do — he pulled his drive, it ended up near a bunker and gave him an awkward stance for his second into the green. Did we mention these wins don’t come easy? He improvised, choked down on an eight-iron, found the green and breathed a sigh of relief when Rickie, being the total nice guy, didn’t hit it close. Rickie casually two-putted and Kizzire joined the “winner-winner Chicken Dinner” club.
“I was glad to get it done, Rickie made me work hard. It was awesome here, I want to win more, win bigger,” said the tall guy from Auburn.
“It was pretty nerve wracking,” Kizzire confirmed. “But I felt good. I’ve been in some pretty tough spots before and I drew on those experiences. It means a lot (to win).”
Yeah, Rickie pushed hard, but not hard enough to knock Kizzire by the wayside.
“I’m pretty emotional now,” Kizzire said, without showing any emotion.
So on this day, the nice guy didn’t finish last, he finished second and the guy who won is a pretty nice guy as well.