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Fowler rallies, but fails to close Round 1

Rickie Fowler
Getty Images

MARANA, Ariz. – More than 50 hours later, the first round of the WGC-Match Play Championship is in the books. But not without a little late drama.

Thursday in the fading daylight, Rickie Fowler sank an 8-foot birdie putt to extend his match with Carl Pettersson. When they returned to Dove Mountain on Friday morning, Fowler bombed his tee shot on No. 18, stuffed a wedge to kick-in range and sent the match to extra holes.

His rally proved short-lived, however. Playing the par-4 10th hole – which he had double-bogeyed earlier in the opening match – Fowler hit his tee shot into a cactus bush, forcing him to take an unplayable lie. He dropped in the desert, came up short with his third and fourth shots, and then couldn’t hole his bogey chip.

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“Just a couple of bad swings at the wrong time,” Fowler said afterward.

That handed the match, rather easily, to Pettersson, who will face Irishman Shane Lowry in the Round of 32 at 11:44 a.m. local time. It is only the second time in four chances that the Swede has reached the second round.

“I knew it was going to be tight – all of them are,” Pettersson said. “It’s hard to close someone out. Everybody is a world-class player. There are no easy games.”

In the other match that was completed Friday, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano took advantage of two late bogeys by Francesco Molinari to win his match, 2 up. The Spaniard will play Charles Howell III at 12:08 p.m. MT.