Fowler ready to apply final round pressure
By Bernie D'Amato under The Open Championship


Rickie Fowler is having one heck of a season. He is on the verge of securing his third straight top-5 finish in a major, and will be looking to climb the mountain of a lead amassed by his final round playing partner, Rory McIlroy.

Rickie had it going in the third round. After three straight birdies on 10, 11, and 12, he was tied for the lead with Rory at 12-under. However, bogeys on 14, 16, and 17 derailed what could have been the round of the year at a major.

Fowler finished with a four-under 68, and said, “I’m definitely satisfied with the game. I got off to a great start today through 12 holes. I was playing very solidly, and looking to draw on that tomorrow. I had two tee shots that slipped away from me a little bit on the back nine and one approach shot on 17. Three of those definitely cost me the three shots coming in.”

He will be looking to make several birdies again tomorrow in order to cut into Rory’s lead. “If I’m able to go out, and get off to a good start, maybe I can put a little bit of pressure on him because he’s definitely in control of the golf tournament right now.”

The 25-year-old Fowler is also in control of his game. After teaming up with golf instructor Butch Harmon over the winter, Rickie has been playing his best golf in the majors. “I’m definitely delivering the club properly. My swing is a lot more efficient than it’s ever been. It’s less effort. It’s more based on body rotation than timing and hands.”

Rickie also gets advice from Phil Mickelson on how to handle the lifestyle of professional golf. “I’ve learned a lot from Phil. He’s kind of been like, hate to say it, but like a dad out here. I’m sure he doesn’t like hearing that, but he knows he’s a little older than I am. It’s been a lot of fun being around him, like I said…and seeing how he operates on and off the golf course, how he treats his fans. He’s very well respected.”

It’s time to start winning majors like Phil, and in order to win his first, Fowler will have to defeat another friend tomorrow. “It’s going to be a good time. We’re good buddies, and at the same time we both want to beat up on each other as bad as possible. We’ll have fun throwing shots back and forth. And it will be fun to see if I can go out and put a bit of pressure on [Rory] and make him earn it a bit.”

Open Championship leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato