Rickie Fowler shot 67, five under par, in the second round of the Masters yesterday – the low score of the day at Augusta National – to take a share of the 36-hole lead in a major for the first time in his career.
Rickie Fowler brought excellent form into the 2017 Masters and he backed it up emphatically yesterday, shooting an almost flawless 67 to rise into a share of the halfway lead at the Masters with three others; fellow American Charlie Hoffman, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.
Fowler, 28, who won the Honda Classic in February, found some early momentum in the second round despite blustery conditions, when he holed out from a greenside bunker at the par-five second hole for an eagle.
Birdies followed at the third, eighth and 13th holes, before Fowler found water by over-shooting the green on the par-five 15th. That led to a bogey and the only blemish on his scorecard, before the Ryder Cup star rebounded brilliantly by holing out for birdie from the edge of the green at the par-three 16th.
“Playing the first three holes well definitely gave me a little bit of that cushion and freed me up,” said Fowler after his round. “There’s definitely some fun shots when you’re out here in the wind and there’s some scary shots, but when you pull off those scary ones it’s rewarding.”
A slippery downhill birdie putt on the 18th just missed, denying the Californian the outright lead.
“I wouldn’t say I hit it particularly well today,” said Fowler. “I just hit it good enough and kept myself in the right positions and when I was able to I got aggressive and made birdies. This place in the wind, it’s a lot of fun.”
The forecast is for calmer winds and warm sunshine over the weekend, with Augusta National’s notorious greens expected to quicken. Fowler tees off at 2:50pm (7:50pm BST) in the penultimate pair, alongside Pieters, with Hoffman and Garcia the final two.
“On weekends, my tendency is to kind of speed up and go a little too quickly,” added Fowler. “So the more I can slow down thoughts, my walking, and make sure that I kind of think through everything and not get too quick out there, that’s one of my keys. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a real golf tournament this weekend.”