Fowler opened with a 3-under 69 and enters the second round three shots back. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
DORAL, Fla. -- Earlier this week, Rickie Fowler won Seminole Golf Club's Pro-Member for a third straight year, winning the gross division with a better-ball 64 with Buddy Marucci.
The two birdied eight of the last 11 holes to beat Luke List and Toby Wilt by a stroke.
"It's pretty cool," Fowler said. "It's got some history. I get to have my name up on the wall at Seminole. There’s something to be said for that."
There's also something to be said for how Fowler is playing right now.
He's coming off a tie for 13th at The Honda Classic and got off to a good start in the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship with a 69 on Thursday that left him three shots off the lead (click here to follow him live on Friday).
Each of the last two years, Fowler has had some pretty hot stretches of golf.
Last year, he had four straight top 10s from April to May, which included his first PGA TOUR win (Wells Fargo Championship) and a runner-up the following week at THE PLAYERS Championship.
In 2011, he had a three-start stretch that included a tie for fifth at the British Open and a runner-up at the Memorial tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Fowler tweaked his back last summer, however, and he has been bothered by it since.
He said it feels "pretty good" this week, which is an improvement from last week at PGA National, where he said it hurt with every swing.
As part of playing through it, Fowler re-evaluated his workout and treatment plan and it appears to be paying off.
"I'm definitely making progress with it," he said. "We're heading in the right direction, but it might take a while."
But as Fowler also pointed out, "it doesn't hurt as much when you play well."