- Associated Press - Sunday, May 6, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Rory McIlroy seems to bring out the best in Rickie Fowler.

Fowler rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt to beat McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff Sunday in the Wells Fargo Championship, marking his first career win on the PGA Tour and his second as a professional. The other was in the Korea Open in 2011 when Fowler topped McIlroy down the stretch and won by six strokes.

McIlroy and Fowler are considered by some golf’s future and if that proves to be true they’re beginning to build a nice little rivalry, albeit a friendly one.

“We’ve always had a great camaraderie, been good buddies,” Fowler said. “I definitely respect him as a player and I feel like he respects me as well _ at least I hope so. I’ve had a lot of fun playing against him and hopefully we’ll have a lot more tournaments like this where we’re battling back and forth.”

McIlroy said he was thrilled for Fowler.

“It’s great to see,” McIlroy said. “He probably has went through a lot of scrutiny and a lot of pressure trying to get that first win out of the way. Hopefully that’ll ease the pressure a little bit.”

Added Fowler: “Now I’ve got some credibility.”

Despite the playoff loss, McIlroy reclaimed his No. 1 spot in the world ranking.


SIMPSON STRUGGLES: Webb Simpson entered the final round with a one-stroke lead and for the first time in his career didn’t close the deal, even though he had several chances to make a move down the stretch.

However, four bogeys proved to be the undoing for the Quail Hollow Club member, who lives a mile from the clubhouse.

Simpson needed a birdie on the 18th hole to get into a four-way playoff, but his tee shot landed in the right rough and he missed a 23-footer to finish one shot back at 13 under after a 73.


WESTWOOD RUN FALLS SHORT: Lee Westwood began the final round nine shots back, but made a charge to trim the lead to two before third-round leader Webb Simpson even teed off.

Westwood started the day playing the first 10 holes in 7 under. The run stopped there. He played the final eight holes in 1 over, finishing the tournament at 11-under 277.

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