In May 2012, Fowler won the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte on the first extra hole of a sudden-death playoff. Replaying the 18th hole, he defeated Rory McIlroy and D. A. Points with a birdie to gain his first PGA Tour win. Fowler shot a 69 (−3) in the final round to finish in a three-way tie after 72 holes at Quail Hollow Club. This win enabled Fowler to break the top-25 in the world, placing him at number 24. The following week at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Fowler played the final hole at −11 under par and had a birdie opportunity to bring him within one of leader and eventual winner Matt Kuchar. Fowler, however, pushed his putt to the right and finished in a tie for second, the fifth second-place finish of his career.
In February 2010, Fowler finished second at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a score of 15-under-par at the TPC of Scottsdale course. In June, Fowler notched his third PGA Tour runner-up finish at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. Fowler entered the final round in the lead, but shot a 73 to finish behind Justin Rose, who recorded his first PGA Tour victory. This performance took Fowler into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
With this win, he entered the Official World Golf Ranking as an amateur at No. 168 and reached a career high of sixth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Walker Cup captain Colin Dagleish described the win as "fairytale stuff", adding: "You'd have to say that Shane's victory was the biggest (of the three amateur wins). To win your own national Open is quite something. It was unbelievable, it really was." The win was only the second home victory since 1982 and the first since Pádraig Harrington in 2007. Harrington himself was also full of praise: "It's fabulous for Irish golf. You only have to look at the fact it is such a rarity for an amateur to win, such a rarity for an Irish player to win the Irish Open. So, on a lot of fronts, it is a big deal. It was very impressive."
Wells Fargo Championship: Made birdie-3 on the first extra hole (No. 18) to defeat Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points at the Wells Fargo Championship for his first TOUR win. Improved to 1-1 in playoffs (lost to Troy Matteson, 2009 Frys.com Open). The playoff was the fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship. At the age of 23 years, 4 months, 23 days, became the third player to make the Wells Fargo Championship his first PGA TOUR win (Anthony Kim in 2008 and McIlroy in 2010). Became the third-youngest winner of the event, behind McIlroy (20 years, 11 months, 28 days) and Kim (22, 10, 15). His win came in his 72nd start on TOUR and was his 16th top-10 finish. Opening-round 66 is the lowest start by a winner of the Wells Fargo Championship. Won in his third start at the Wells Fargo Championship (T6 in 2010 and T16 in 2011).
Masters Tournament: Finished runner-up at the Masters, one stroke behind Patrick Reed, for his best result at the event. For the first time in eight starts at Augusta National, recorded four par-or-better rounds (70-72-65-67). Earned his third runner-up in a major (2nd/2018 Masters Tournament, T2/2014 The Open Championship, T2/2014 U.S. Open) and third top-five in the last four (2nd/2018 Masters Tournament, T5/2017 Open Championship, T5/2017 U.S. Open). With third-round 65, was one of just four players to post a bogey-free round during the week (Rory McIlroy/65, Jon Rahm/65, Si Woo Kim/65) with all four occurring in the final round.