A week after a 62 at the U.S. Open, Rickie Fowler flirts with 59 at Travelers
Last week, Rickie Fowler shot the first 62 in U.S. Open history. This week, he flirted with his first 59 on the PGA Tour.
Fowler started on the back nine at TPC River Highlands with pars on 10 and 11. Then the fireworks started.
The former Oklahoma State star found a fairway bunker at the par-4 12th, but was able to hit it to 7 feet from 94 yards and rolled in the birdie to kickstart his round.
Great ball-striking at the reachable par-5 13th and driveable par-4 15th was rewarded with tap-in birdies, and after adding two more birdies at 17 and 18, Fowler couldn’t help but start thinking about that magic number.
“After birdieing 18 I knew I could potentially get six on the front,” Fowler said, “and especially after birdieing one and two, my 10th and 11th. You know, 7 under through 11 is a pretty good spot to be in.”
The birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 is where the putter started to heat up for Fowler. A 17-footer at the first was backed up by a 21-footer at the second, setting the stage for the par-5 sixth.
The world No. 35 missed the fairway just left off the tee but was able to advance his ball to the short grass in front of the green from 282 yards. Fowler proceeded to hole the chip from just under 60 feet for a crowd-pleasing eagle.
“After getting through five I made three pars there,” Fowler said. “You know, still was thinking, birdie the last four, so the chip was a bit of a bonus making three on six. And that made it a little easier that I didn’t have to make all birdies coming in.”
Fowler would still need two birdies in his final three holes to reach 59, and he got one at the par-3 eighth, ramping up the pressure at the 386-yard par-4 ninth.
The five-time Tour winner found the fairway at his last hole and had just 126 yards to the pin. He hit the next shot exactly like he wanted to, but it hung out to the right of the green, where he got up-and-down for par and a 10-under 60.
“It started right where it landed and we had, you know, not windy, but it’s blowing between five to ten out there, so I thought the ball was going to drift a few yards,” Fowler said of the approach shot. “Thought it was going to come down right on the stick. I guess the TaylorMade ball I’m playing is a little too tight in the wind. Yeah, I hit a great shot; executed what I wanted to. If I went back out in the same conditions, I would’ve told you this is where I want to start it and it should move to the hole; it just didn’t.”
It’s hard to be disappointed with a 60, and now Fowler finds himself in contention once again. He slept on the U.S. Open lead three straight nights last week before a final-round 75 kept him from getting his hands on the trophy.
He knows he’ll need another low round tomorrow if he hopes to catch Keegan Bradley at the Travelers Championship.
“You just kind of go out there and see what happens,” Fowler said. “You know, now we’ll see where the guys end up out front, and then how much of a chance we really have tomorrow. But I’m going to need another really good round of golf to give myself a legit shot.”