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Fowler falls short at The Players despite late charge

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rickie Fowler almost did it again.

Looking for a second career PGA Tour win in as many weeks, Fowler made a late charge that fell just short of catching Matt Kuchar for The Players Championship. Fowler shot 2-under 70 on Sawgrass Sunday to finish tied for second with three other players. 

Coming to the par-5 16th hole even on the day, Fowler needed a furious finish. Fowler made 4 there, just as all but one of the top nine did on Sunday.

'It was kind of a routine birdie,' said Fowler, who pulled to within three of Kuchar with the birdie at 16.

Fowler hit a wedge into the island-green 17th, but left himself a 22-foot putt. Playing partner Ben Curtis had a putt on the same line as Fowler, only from further away.

'I got to see Ben's putt roll down and see how it reacted speed-wise,' he said. 'I hit a good putt, right in the middle.'

Fowler delivered a rare fist pump when he sank the birdie putt as the crowd cheered. As Fowler made his way to the 18th tee, Kuchar birdied the 16th. Fowler had no idea what happened across the pond.

'Once I made mine, I was kind of ready to go, and focusing on what we had to do at 18,' he said. 'I knew that we had to put up a three to have some sort of chance.'

The Oklahoma State product nearly did it, leaving himself a difficult 8-footer for birdie.

'The hardest putt to have is straight in,' he said, 'so would have been nice to have some kind of break.'

Fowler pushed his putt to the right, resulting in a closing par that left him two back of Kuchar in the end. Even though he came up short of a win, Fowler would not change many shots this week, except the penultimate one.

'Wouldn't mind having the putt over on 18.'