By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Rickie Fowler hasn't exactly got this FedExCup Playoffs thing down yet.
Each of the first three years he was eligible to play for the $10 million bonus, Fowler found himself going backwards -- starting 19th in 2010 and finishing 32nd, opening the Playoffs ranked 28th in 2011 and falling to 43rd and starting 18th a year ago and finishing 28th.
He's determined to buck that trend this season, though, and Fowler made a statement on Friday, firing a 64 that briefly tied the Liberty National course record and moved him within two strokes of Webb Simpson's lead at the midway point of the second round.
Fowler, who stands 7 under for 36 holes, came to The Barclays ranked 42nd in the FedExCup but says he feels like he is playing better than he was at this juncture in any of the last three years. The turning point came when he missed the cut at The Open Championship and Fowler went back to fundamentals.
"It's all pretty simple," Fowler said. "But making it a little more repeatable for myself. Been swinging really well. Hitting a lot of golf shots, and it's kind of nice to see everything working properly."
Consequently, Fowler feels like he's ready to move forward in the Playoffs instead of retreating.
"Every year I feel like I've been just kind of trying to hold on and finish off the year," Fowler said. "This year, after missing the cut at The Open Championship, I kind of turned a corner, swinging really well. Just waiting for kind of getting some putts to drop and I was able to do that today which was nice.
"Probably the most confident and most kind of on upward climb versus a downhill spiral versus the last few years, so I'm excited about the Playoffs. The furthest back I've been coming in, but I feel like I have a good chance of playing well, and a good weekend here would go a long ways and keep me going.'
Fowler's goal is to make the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the second straight year. Not to mention, "there's Presidents Cup in the back of my mind," said Fowler, who ranks 17th in the U.S. standings with a week and a half before the 10 automatic qualifiers are selected.
"I just want to play well right now," Fowler said firmly. He certainly did that on Friday, too.