Golf

Rickie Fowler wins Honda Classic while Darren Fichardt claims Joburg success

Rickie Fowler won the Honda Classic by four shots
Martin McGoran and Phil Casey

RICKIE Fowler held off the final day chasing pack to claim a four-shot victory at the Honda Classic at Palm Beach in Florida.

The American could only manage a one-over par round of 71, but still cruised to a success by the same margin which he had at the begining of his final round.

After an early birdie at the par five third, a bogey and double bogeyed threatened to bring Fowler back to the field, but birdies at 8, 12, 13 and 16 kept his rivals at arm's length, despite further bogeys at holes 9, 17 and 18.

Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland shared second place on eight-under, four behind Fowler, while Jhonathan Vegas produced the round of the day, a 64 to share fourth with Billy Horschel, Chad Collins, Wesley Bryan, Martin Kaymer and Tyrell Hatton.

Graeme McDowell will be delighted with his tied-14th place finish after a final round of 69.

WORLD number two Jason Day has withdrawn from the WGC-Mexico Championship, which starts on Thursday, due to illness.

In a statement released by the PGA Tour, Day said: "I'm truly disappointed to announce that I won't be able to play in next week's World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship.

"I have a double ear infection and the flu, which precludes me from preparing for and playing in the tournament.

"I have heard great things about the Mexico Championship and the golf course. I want to thank the Salinas family for their support of the event [which is sponsored by Grupo Salinas]. I look forward to teeing it up there next year."

Day, who has been plagued by various injury problems throughout his career, was replaced as world number one by Dustin Johnson last week after the US Open champion won the Genesis Open.

SOUTH Africa's Darren Fichardt held his nerve to win a fifth European Tour title and continue home dominance of the Joburg Open, which had been reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather.

Fichardt carded a closing 68 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club to finish 15 under par, a shot ahead of England's Paul Waring and Welshman Stuart Manley.

Manley had birdied the final two holes to complete a third consecutive 67 and set a clubhouse target which looked like setting up a play-off after Fichardt dropped his first shot of the day on the 17th.

However, the 41-year-old from Pretoria then produced a superb pitch from just short of the 18th green to set up a certain birdie and when Waring's birdie attempt agonisingly lipped out, Fichardt tapped in to become the eighth home winner in 11 editions of the event.

The top three had the added bonus of sealing a place in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale via the Open Qualifying Series, with James Morrison, Brandon Stone and Jacques Kruyswijk finishing in a tie for fourth.

Kruyswijk held the outright lead after his sixth birdie of the day on the 11th, only to run up a double bogey on the 14th after finding a water hazard with his second shot.

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