Rickie Fowler finished second in his Mayakoba Golf Classic debut. This time around, he's looking to go one better.
Fowler headlined the field last year in Mexico, then came within a shot of catching Patton Kizzire as the two traded birdies down the stretch. Instead he settled for a second-place showing, one that led him to return this week in the penultimate event of the PGA Tour's fall portion of the season.
"I felt like I played well enough to win last year," Fowler told reporters. "Patton just made really every putt the last 36 holes that he needed to, whether it was for par or when he had a birdie look, so he never really opened the door or gave me a chance."
At No. 9 in the latest world rankings, Fowler is the highest-ranked player in this week's field. But he also brought a high-profile debutant with him, having told reporters that he helped recruit Jordan Spieth to make the trip south of the border. Fowler also has some momentum on his side, having finished T-4 last week in Las Vegas after a closing 63.
With 130 other players teeing it up, Fowler realizes that he and Spieth have their work cut out for them if they're going to both end up on the leaderboard come Sunday. But it's still an opportunity he would relish.
"I think there's a good chance that both him and I are playing well," Fowler said. "Yes, if we play well, we should be there, but the depths of these fields are pretty amazing. I feel like they continue to get better and better."
Fowler came up just short of victory, both last week at TPC Summerlin and last year in Playa del Carmen, and it's now been more than 18 months since his last official win at the 2017 Honda Classic. But as he gets set to make his last official start of the year, Fowler knows that time is running out to notch a victory in 2018 - and book a ticket to the limited-field Tournament of Champions in January.
"I'm looking forward to getting back in a position where I can go get the win this year," Fowler said. "This is my last shot at having a chance to go play Kapalua, so we'll leave it all out there."