Fowler and Schauffele the stars in Hollywood with record low 62s

Ronan MacNamara

Rickie Fowler (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Between 1870 and 2023 there was only one round of 62 at a major championship. On the opening day of the 123rd US Open Championship there were two in the space of 30 minutes as Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele stormed to the summit at LA Country Club.

Matching the feat achieved by South Africa’s Branden Grace in round three of the 2017 Open Championship at Birkdale, Fowler and Schauffele fired 18 birdies between them to shoot the lowest round in a US Open with the latter adding the icing to the cake with a bogey-free opener.

Fowler missed out on last year’s US Open at qualifying in Boston but his rise back into the top-45 in the world long ensured his passage to Los Angeles and he rolled in ten birdies with just two bogeys in what was a superb display in all facets of the game.


“It was a great day. Got off to a nice start making 3 on 10 and just never really thought about a score or necessarily what I was trying to do out there,” said Fowler who was second to Martin Kaymer in 2014.

“The first few days this week I wasn’t feeling very comfortable swinging and wasn’t making many putts or hitting very good putts, so continue to get work in on the course as well as in the practice area, and finally a couple things clicked a bit yesterday. Then it was more just go out, trust it, and let things happen.

“I knew there was birdies to be made out here, but you have to drive it well and get the ball in position first. Yeah, did that, and from there just managed our way around really well.”

“It’s not really what you expect playing a U.S. Open. But monkey see, monkey do. Was just chasing Rickie up the leaderboard. Glad he was just in front of me,” said Schauffele who had a putt to shoot 61.

“Well, just an all-around performance, honestly. Got lucky, made a really long putt. Made a long one on 1. Hit some really nice iron shots in from distance.

“It’s kind of a mixed bag. I think the only place we were able to get away with a few mis-hits would be off the tee. Coming into greens, like you said, you need to be pretty clean. When I wasn’t, I was still able to make birdie because I made some long putts so probably try and clean that up as the days go on.”

Both players have been nearly men in major championships with Fowler registering top-3 finishes in all four championships while Schauffele has two runner-ups, a third and a T10 including five top-10s in as many US Open Championships.

It seemed a case of when not if for Fowler in terms of breaking down the major door around the 2014-2016 period before he lost his form.

“It’s definitely been long and tough. A lot longer being in that situation than you’d ever want to. But it makes it so worth it having gone through that and being back where we are now.

“I would say we’re starting to get maybe as close as we’ve ever been to where I was through kind of that 14, 15 area, and just with — I’ve been playing fairly consistently, but a lot of it for me is what I’ve been able to get out of off weeks where I’m not playing very well and still able to make the cut and kind of turn those into at least top 20s or top 10s and the last few years those were missed cuts and going home.

“This week off to a good start, but there’s still plenty of golf to be played. It’s going to be tough tomorrow afternoon. But at least got out of the gate and we’re off to, like I said, a good start.”

Schauffele added: “I’ve played really well in majors. Obviously haven’t won any of them yet, but it’s just sort of a type of golf. It’s just hard. You have to kind of think your way around.

“Austin, actually give him some credit, which I normally don’t do too often. He helped me on three or four attempts today where he talked me into a safer line or playing away from trouble, even on 6, for example.

“I was trying to go left and he was like, let’s go this way. I kept going left, and he’s like, let’s go this way.

“It’s a credit to him. We always think we can get away with some ridiculous stuff out there, and sometimes it’s nice to have some help to talk you off the ledge.”

Shane Lowry and Seamus Power are alongside each other on two-over while Malone amateur Matthew McClean is a shot further back on plus three.

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.