Fowler’s first PGA Tour win comes in 3-way playoff

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Rickie Fowler finally picked up his first PGA Tour win Sunday in what might be the start of a rivalry for years to come.

Fowler brought style and substance to a sudden-death playoff at Quail Hollow and delivered a clutch shot — a wedge into 4 feet to birdie the 18th hole and win the Wells Fargo Championship over U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points.

Fowler, 23, has been talked about as the next American star since he turned pro with his flashy colors and all-orange outfit Sunday, his trademark. Now he has a trophy to back up the hype, coming in his 67th start as a pro on the PGA Tour.

And he beat McIlroy, 23, to do it.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Rory for a long time,” said Fowler, who closed with a 3-under 69. “It’s awesome. It’s a long wait, but well worth it.”

McIlroy established himself on the same green two years ago, closing out a record 62 by making a 40-foot putt. This time, it was Fowler’s turn.

Along for the ride was Points, 35, who had the tournament in his grasp until ending 40 straight holes without a bogey by making one at the worst time. He had a one-shot lead going to the 18th in regulation, hit his approach in a bunker and never came close to a par.

McIlroy had a shot at winning in regulation and missed a 15-foot birdie putt.

In the playoff, all three hit the fairway, with McIlroy hitting a 3-wood that traveled nearly 340 yards. Fowler’s wedge covered the flag and spun some 4 feet away. Points went long and did well to two-putt for his par, making the second one from 12 feet. McIlroy hit his wedge well right of the flag and had to work hard for a two-putt par.

That set the stage for Fowler.

Even though they’re the same age, McIlroy has a two-year head start on Fowler. They were in the Walker Cup together in 2007, and McIlroy turned pro that fall. Fowler didn’t turn pro until two years ago.

The only other time Fowler won as a pro was last year at the Korea Open, where he also beat McIlroy.

Fowler earned $1.17 million and best of all, achieved his primary goal of winning on the PGA Tour. That should help him reach his other marks this year, getting to the Tour Championship for the first time and perhaps getting another spot on the Ryder Cup team.

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