Rickie Fowler made just one bogey during his third-round 67. (Carr/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Rickie Fowler had two playing partners for Saturday's third round of the U.S. Open. One of them, Sergio Garcia, recorded a 10 at the par-4 15th en route to shooting 75. The other one, Robert Karlsson, shot a 16-over 86 that included one triple bogey, three doubles and eight bogeys.
Luckily for Fowler, he didn't catch whatever was ailing Garcia and Karlsson.
The 24-year-old posted a 3-under 67 to move to 3 over for the tournament, which puts him in sniffing distance of the lead for Sunday's final round at Merion. Unlike the others on the front page of the leaderboard, Fowler started his round off the 11th tee instead of the first, a byproduct of starting the round at 6 over.
The 67 is Fowler's lowest score in his 15 career rounds at the U.S. Open. The only previous time he shot a round in the 60s in this major was a 68 in the second round in 2009.
"Finally just kind of pieced everything together," said Fowler. "I played well the first day scoring; I had a few holes get away from me. Yesterday I just had a bad stretch and today I just made a few putts to keep the round going.
"I swung it well, drove it a little better, and stayed out of the rough as much as possible. So definitely feels good to be done with the round and sitting here and getting ready for tomorrow's round."
Despite the struggles of his playing partners, Fowler said he never felt any bad vibes.
"I could never tell that they were having terrible days," Fowler said. "Sergio obviously made a nice comeback and Robert (had) just one of those days, but it was fun to be around the guys. It says a lot about who they are, just the way they handle themselves around me when I was playing well and they were struggling."
Unlike many others in the field, Fowler has played in a pressure-packed event at Merion prior to this week. He was on the U.S. Walker Cup team in 2009 and went 4-0 that week in his matches.
He'll draw on that experience Sunday.
"I've played well here before," Fowler said. "I know I've made putts here. The biggest thing this week has just been staying patient, sitting back and letting things happen and I finally was able to do that today."
Rickie Fowler has as much game as he has style. We take a look back at his young career including the win at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
Rickie Fowler talks with the media prior to the Memorial Tournament.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- At least Rickie Fowler was up-close-and-personal to one of best shots of the 2012 season.
He was standing beside the 16th green at Muirfield Village on Sunday as Tiger Woods plopped a delicate 50-foot chip onto the green that went tracking toward the hole, the cheers escalating with every revolution. When the ball found the bottom of the cup, Woods, who celebrated with a mighty fist pump, was tied for the lead -- and he went on to win the Memorial Tournament for the fifth time.
"That was pretty special to see," Fowler said.
But Fowler, who had finished solo second to Justin Rose at the 2010 Memorial, started the final round with similar aspirations as his playing partner. He was three strokes off the lead held by Spencer Levin but Fowler's hopes of victory had evaporated by the time he made the turn in 40 and eventually signed for an 84 that dropped him from third to 52nd.
"I've made a lot of birdies here, and unfortunately I've made a lot of others, too," Fowler said on Tuesday afternoon. "I've been in two good positions here, one when I lost to Rosie, obviously he played well on Sunday there. And I was in a great position last year with Tiger and golf happened."
In a wierd way, though, Fowler benefitted from the clinic Woods put on that day. Fowler remembers trying to "stay out of his way" but he learned a lot from seeing the way Woods conducted himself in the heat of competition. He put those lessons to work at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard earlier this year, too.
"It was fun to see what he did there, how he handles himself coming down the stretch," Fowler said. "Obviously I was able to sit there and watch, being out of it. ...
"Definitely helped me at Bay Hill earlier this year, where I put myself in a great position, two back with three to play and just ended up catching the shot a little heavy (that went into the water). But it was a little bit of a difference between shooting 84 here against Tiger final round and then actually showing him I was around at Bay Hill and ready to play down the stretch.
"But golf is a learning process and that 84 was part of it."
Prior to the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Rickie Fowler talks about matching fan donations to benefit the tornado victims, and his strategy for the tournament.
DALLAS – With gusting Dallas winds, blind shots and partial sight lines to navigate, PGA TOUR star Rickie Fowler and fellow pro Colt Knost traversed urban hazards as part of a precise shot-making challenge: Red Bull Off Course. The narrow fairway at Victory Plaza proved challenging as Fowler and Knost attempted to nail a hole-in-one onto a custom-built, Texas-shaped green.
The name of the game was to see who could hit it closest to the pin, while egged on by special guests and former Dallas Stars hockey player Marty Turco and Kip Brennan. The two contestants strolled out to the sidewalk and warmed up with an 80-yard lob wedge, followed by 115-yard gap wedge from across the street and onto the AT&T Plaza green. Fowler started off slowly in these practice rounds, while Knost consistently landed on the green.
Then the two players jumped into a golf cart and drove around the block to an adjacent 3rd-floor parking structure for the main round. From there, they attempted blind shots from 140 yards that to had fly over a 6-story building or be sliced left-to-right to land softly on the Victory Plaza green. With golf balls flying over the heads of hundreds of spectators, Fowler first jumped on the MIC to let the fans know they “should probably duck.”
Fowler and Knost each hit 14 shots a piece in the finale, starting off slowly until they honed in on the target. With the winds causing havoc, Knost consistently was able to land around the nearby bunkers, but couldn’t hit the green. He also hit a few balls onto the nearby roofs that were never seen again. On Fowler’s fourth attempt, he nailed the green, causing a roar from the crowd. On his sixth shot, he landed 30 inches from the hole, which proved to be tough to beat and led Fowler to be crowned the Red Bull Off Course champion, red jacket and all.
"I have done some crazy stuff with Red Bull, but this is by far the craziest," said Rickie Fowler. "I got some good wedge practice in today. I won't see a harder shot in the tourney this week at Colonial."
The event served as a warm-up to sharpen Fowler’s and Knost’s games as they ready to play the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.
This was Fowler’s first urban adventure in Texas, and is a continuation of his Red Bull Off Course escapades in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Augusta and Los Angeles over the past few years. Catch his D.C. hole-in-one here.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson and Padraig Harrington have all committed to the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Tuesday.
"Along with being great golfers, these six individuals are all well known and our fans will be thrilled to see them compete in person," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "Our competitive field just got a lot stronger with these additions."
All six have played in the event before, which will take place at TPC River Highlands June 20-23, the week after the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Jacobson won the Travelers in 2011, while Harrington tied for fifth in 2011 and was 11th last year.
Others already committed include Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Robert Castro opened with a course record-tying 63 to take a three-shot lead on Thursday. Whether he still has that lead by the time he tees off Friday afternoon, who knows. Conditions appear to be good for scoring again and already a few players -- Tiger Woods among them -- have started to make a move. Here's a look at who and what to watch for this afternoon.
Roberto Castro (12:46 p.m. ET): A big reason Castro was able to go so low in the opening round was because he hit close -- six of his approach shots were inside 5 feet. That will be a tall order come the afternoon when the wind is expected to increase along with the temperature, making for a firm, fast golf course.
Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler (1:18 p.m. ET): After failing to break 70 in 16 of his last 17 rounds, which included a pair of missed cuts and two other finishes near the bottom of the leaderboard, Mahan was "stress free" with a 67 Thursday. Given his accuracy, he should fare well here (two years ago, he finished sixth). Fowler, on the other hand, struggled to a 73 and will have some ground to make up to make the cut.
Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell (1:28 p.m. ET): Both were 2 under on Thursday, and McDowell comes into this week having recently won at another Pete Dye course (Harbour Town).
Zach Johnson (1:49 p.m. ET): Perhaps lost in all the headlines Thursday was Johnson, who was superb with seven birdies and just one bogey. Johnson has played progressively better here the last three years, finishing 32nd, 22nd, 12th and second.
Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott (1:49 p.m. ET): McIlroy finally broke par here with a sublime 66 in the opening round and he finally appears to be comfortable around this place. His last two wins have also come on Pete Dye courses. Stricker was nearly as good with a 67 and between the three the group made just two bogeys.
Rickie Fowler has a need for speed, and while he was in Charlotte this week for the Wells Fargo Championship, he joined up with NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kasey Kahne at Mooresville Motorplex.