27 Feb 2017

Lee to slip outside top 100

5:04 pm on 27 February 2017

New Zealand golfer Danny Lee will fall outside the world's top 100 for the first time in two years after another missed cut on the PGA Tour.

Danny Lee on day three of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, 2015.

New Zealand number one Danny Lee. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 26-year-old New Zealand number one had opening rounds of 69 and 73 at the Honda Classic in Florida, missing the weekend two shots.

Lee has either missed the cut or withdrawn from his last five events on the PGA Tour since he decided to ditch his coach Drew Streckel.

He's ranked 98th in the world but is expected to drop outside the top 100 following the weekend's result.

Fellow New Zealander Steve Alker also missed the cut, he was just one shot outside it while left hander Tim Wilkinson withdrew during the first round.

Meanwhile it was American Rickie Fowler who breathed a sigh of relief on the 72nd hole in Florida, finishing with a four shot victory.

Fowler, previously 0-for-4 after starting the final round leading on the PGA Tour, frittered away almost all of his four-stroke advantage on a breezy day at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

But he steadied a leaky ship by sinking consecutive long birdie putts, a 40-footer at the 12th hole followed by a 25-footer at the next, and extended his lead to five strokes with two holes left.

"My putter saved me," Fowler, 28, said in a greenside interview after carding 71 to finish at 12-under-par 268 for his fourth PGA Tour victory. He also has won three times internationally.

Fowler gave his adoring gallery a moment of panic when he leaked his seven-iron tee shot into a water hazard at the par-three 17th.

But after taking a penalty stroke, he calmly negotiated the water with his third shot and sank a six-foot putt to salvage a bogey, before taking a victory stroll down the last, where another bogey proved almost meaningless.

"The wind was tough today," said Fowler. "I fought as hard as I could. I hit a lot of shots I thought were going to turn out good (but did not). It was blowing pretty good, so kept us on our toes."

Fellow Americans Gary Woodland and Morgan Hoffmann tied for second on eight-under, but the day belonged to one man, who will head to the Masters in April with a new spring in his step.

Fowler will jump from 14th in the world rankings to inside the top 10.