Rickie Fowler watches lead shrink after 7-stroke hole at Waste Management Phoenix Open

Blake SchusterYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/pga/players/9633/" data-ylk="slk:Rickie Fowler">Rickie Fowler</a> during the final round of the Phoenix Open PGA tournament. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Rickie Fowler during the final round of the Phoenix Open PGA tournament. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Rickie Fowler entered Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a four-shot lead and plenty of room to expand on it. Too bad golf is cruel game that only serves to torment those who love it most.

What could’ve been a nice cruise to the finish line for Fowler turned into a comedic tragedy thanks to a few lively golf balls on Hole 11 that decided to go swimming. One with Fowler’s encouragement, and one without.

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How did Fowler put up triple-bogey on a Par 4? Let’s go through it step by step.

His first two shots put Fowler just 34 yards from the cup — which is where the trouble started. Fowler’s third shot looked like it was about to settle next to the pin. Instead it rolled off the green, around the bunker and straight into the water.

Oh well, it happens, right? No reason to panic, just place your drop and get back to work.

Except for one thing: after Fowler made his drop and started surveying his next shot, the ball somehow came to life and decided it didn’t want to stay on land, either.

Back-to-back penalties don’t get more brutal than that.

On his third ball, Fowler was finally able to get his shot off and left it 16 feet from the hole. One putt and seven strokes after his shot from the tee box, he was done with Hole 11.

The disaster all but put the top of the leaderboard up for grabs as his safe lead disappeared. After a bogey on No. 12, Fowler was out of the top spot entirely.

It’s early in the season, but this may be one of the weirder meltdowns we see all year.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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