The Barclays leader Rickie Fowler has a lot at stake on Sunday
US PGA TOUR
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- A win by Rickie Fowler on Sunday at the Barclays would go a long way. His words. “It would take care of a lot of things,” he added. Lock up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Check. Move him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings with three events to go in the playoffs. Check. Perhaps most importantly: Give Fowler his first victory of 2016 on the PGA Tour after blowing chances first in Phoenix in February, then at Quail Hollow in May. Check. He hasn’t sniffed contention otherwise. At the latter, Fowler led by one going into the last day, made two bogeys and a double in his first seven holes and shot 74 to finish two strokes out of a playoff. At the former, he was up by two with two holes to play when he hit driver through the green and into the water on the 358-yard 17th at TPC Scottsdale and then found the water again (this time left of the fairway) on the same hole with a 3-wood to lose in a playoff. Afterward, Fowler was overcome with emotion because his grandfather, who was in the crowd that day, had never seen him win while in attendance. “[In Phoenix] I made the swings that I wanted to down the stretch and just didn't work out,” Fowler said Saturday. “Quail Hollow, I felt very good going into the final round. I had been swinging well and took care of everything I wanted to take care of. Then had a mud ball on seven and it kind of put me in a tough position to really get things going. “Since then, the putter hasn't worked, it bleeds into the rest of the game and makes things tough when you feel like you have to hit it that close to make birdies.” Through three rounds at a brutish Bethpage Black, just about everything has worked for Fowler, who shot a three-under 68 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Patrick Reed and two-shot advantage over Adam Scott into the final round. In 54 holes, Fowler has just one bogey (the tough ninth hole on Thursday), compared to eight birdies and an eagle. He’s also eighth in strokes gained/tee-to-green, first in scrambling and seventh in strokes gained/putting. “You can't fake it around here,” Fowler said. “You're going to have to pull off some magic here and there to save some pars like I've been able to, and then also you're going to have to ball-strike your way around here.” Coincidentally enough, the player right behind Fowler on the leaderboard has had his own moments this year. Specifically, nine top 10s, zero wins. He’s also on the Ryder Cup bubble at eighth in the standings. “I've been ready, felt like all year,” Reed said. “I need to put four rounds together. I really felt like I put two out of three rounds together this week so far, and still only one back.” One more would go a long way, for Reed or Fowler.