Rickie Fowler insists he has no fear heading into the final round of the US Open Championship as he bids to finally claim his first major championship.
Fowler shares the lead on ten-under with Wyndham Clark after chiseling out a level-par 70 while Clark shot a 69. There was a two shot swing on the 18th as Fowler three-putted for a bogey while Clark birdied, wiping out Fowler’s two-shot lead.
The California boy has top-3 finishes in all four majors including four top-5 finishes in 2014 but has been in the doldrums over the last few years and has worked his way back into the top-45 in the world having been outside the top 170.
“I mean, obviously it would be huge. It would be great. Especially being here in Southern California, having a lot of people, family and friends that are out here this week,” said Fowler.
“We have a chance tomorrow. I mentioned out there after going through the last few years, I’m not scared to fail. I’ve dealt with that. We’re just going to go have fun, continue to try to execute, leave it all out there, see where we stand on 18.
“A little bit of a grind out there today. Still hit some good shots, but with the firmer conditions and the pins being — some kind of tucked front pins. When you miss the fairway, it makes it very hard to make par.
“Had to accept some bogeys there in the round early on, but I feel like we did a good job of kind of staying present, moving forward, and like I said, still a lot of quality shots.
“Through three rounds we’re in the spot that we want to be in, and tomorrow is when the tournament starts.”
Meanwhile Clark looks set to last the distance after another impressive showing from the world number 32 and he has played the back nine better than anyone this week.
“I wanted to be in the final group. Every shot matters out here. And on top of it, we couldn’t see. So just the fact making it when we were kind of just feeling it and didn’t really have the clearest of reads. Yeah, there’s a lot of emotion. It’s a U.S. Open and I wanted to be in that final group. So yeah.
“I thought it was great being in the final group today. I played really good. The front nine I kind of had it going. A couple loose shots on 6, not getting up-and-down there for birdie, and then not birdieing the par-5.
“But I handled — I felt like I handled all of it really well. I had two back-to-back bogeys which were unfortunate but followed it up with birdie, and then birdieing at the end I felt like I handled all the adversity, and I feel like my best round is still out there.”
The front nine coughed up a lot of birdies while the players coughed up an equal amount of bogeys on the back nine it seemed as none of the early starters truly put themselves into the thick of contention with 18 to play.
Tom Kim was on a charge when he matched a U.S. Open record by shooting a score of 29 over his first nine holes but the back nine came back to bite him and he settled for a 66 to lie on -3.