- Rickie Fowler shot a final-round 72 at Pinehurst No. 2. (Getty Images/Andrew Redington)
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Rickie Fowler played in the final group of a major for the first time on Sunday, but faced a tall task if he was to catch Martin Kaymer. Fowler started the final round five shots off the German's lead. A double-bogey at No. 4 seemed to doom his chances at victory, but Fowler rebounded to post a career-best finish in a major championship.
Fowler played the final 14 holes in even par to shoot 72 on Sunday and tie for second with Erik Compton. Fowler is the only player to finish in the top five of the year's first two majors; he and Jimmy Walker are the only players to finish in the top 10 at both Augusta National and Pinehurst No. 2.
"I knew Martin was playing well and he was going to be tough to catch," Fowler said. "I figured I would have to go out and shoot a couple under on the front nine and at least put a little bit of heat on him. That was kind of stopped quickly when I made a quick double there on 4. So I was kind of thrown behind the 8-ball quickly and kind of rallied back and kept moving forward."
He made 6 at the par-4 fourth hole after needing five shots to reach the green and making a curling 20-foot putt. His second shot from the waste area bounced off out-of-bounds fencing and ended up about 40 yards short of the green. He bladed that shot over the green, then had to punch out short of the green because his ball was behind a tree. He flubbed his chip shot, but made the next putt. Fowler made three birdies and three bogeys the rest of the round.
He also finished T5 at this year's Masters.
"This year at Augusta it was definitely the most comfortable I felt on the golf course, being in contention and hanging around and playing well on the weekend," Fowler said. "The same with this week at Pinehurst. When I was out there inside the ropes playing golf it didn't feel like the U.S. Open to me. I felt that comfortable. It is nice to be starting to feel as comfortable as I am in majors."
Fowler has finished in the top 20 in four of the past five majors, including three top-10s. He had just one top-10 in 13 majors before last year's U.S. Open, where he finished T10.