Patton Kizzire has defeated Rickie Fowler by one shot to claim his first PGA Tour title at the OHL Classic Mayakoba in Mexico.
Kizzire handled the conditions of the rain-soaked El Camaleon Golf Course better than anyone – finally entering the winner’s circle after 62 career starts on Tour.
He triumphed following a nail-biting 36-hole duel against Fowler, which eventuated after numerous rain delays throughout the first three days of play.
The 31-year-old led by three shots with three holes to play before Fowler rolled in two birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, closing within one shot coming down the 18th.
But a clutch par from Kizzire couldn't be outdone, and ensured his name would be written on the winner's cheque.
“This golf course is really demanding and it was nice to win here,” Kizzire said. “It came down to Rickie Fowler and I and it was just a great battle.
“The win this week is pretty special. I've been working really hard to breakthrough, and for it to happen here at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba is huge for me.”
The tall American shot rounds of 66-67 on the final day to reach 19-under-par, stamp his ticket to Augusta and snatch the early lead of the FedExCup.
He also receives a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a spot in the field at both the PGA Championship and the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
“I’ve been thinking about this moment for a long time,” Kizzire said. “I haven’t thought about it since the last putt went it, but I’ve been thinking about the exemptions and the Masters and Maui and all that stuff that goes along with winning for a long time.”
Fowler, meanwhile, was making his first appearance for the season, having spent five weeks away after the Presidents Cup.
The 28-year-old signed for rounds of 67-67 on Sunday and made a late charge that heaped the pressure back onto Kizzire.
“We gave it a run and kept Patton honest, but he earned it out there today,” Fowler said. “For 36 holes, he played solid and made a lot of putts … So I’m happy for him and we had a good time.”
Matt Jones was the best of the Aussies and finished with a share of 50th following a disappointing final round (two-over 73) that saw him slide down the leaderboard.