May 6 (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler claimed his first PGA Tour victory when he won the Wells Fargo championship with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff against Briton Rory McIlroy and fellow American D.A. Points at Quail Hollow on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Fowler finally justified his billing as one of the game’s top young players when he sank a four-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to claim victory at the Charlotte, North Carolina course.
Fowler fired a three-under-par 69 to join U.S. Open champion McIlroy (70) and Points (71) in the sudden-death playoff after tying at 14-under-par 274 after the regulation 72 holes.
Fowler, who had made the last U.S. Ryder Cup team despite lacking a tour victory, saw the pressure lift off his shoulders when both Points and McIlroy missed their par putts.
McIlroy had left himself 34 feet from the cup after his approach, and Points was 41 feet away.
Despite losing out in the playoff, the finish ensured 23-year-old McIlroy would reclaim the number one world ranking.
Home-town favorite Webb Simpson, the third-round leader, finished one stroke out of the playoff at 275 after posting a 73 for fourth place, two shots better than Briton Lee Westwood (66) and Americans Ben Curtis (67) and Ryan Moore (74).
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Nick Mulvenney