Strong finishes and high birdie totals have become the norm for Rickie Fowler in recent months, and that means confidence coming into the year’s first major.
“Having a lot of offense, and a lot of that these last two tournaments, is something that I want to feed off of,” Fowler said. “If I can continue to do that here this week, a lot of birdies, maybe a couple eagles in there, that’s going to be something that’s going to be very good around here.”
The sting of a missed cut at last year’s Masters Tournament might linger for Fowler, but he comes to Augusta renewed after a win at the Honda Classic in late February, then a tie for third at the Houston Open on Sunday. He has four other top-10 finishes this year.
That type of finish at Augusta National Golf Club is not uncommon for Fowler. He tied for fifth in 2014 and tied for 12th in 2015 before an 8-over-par opening roung knocked him out of contention early in 2016.
“I know this golf course too well now to really make those mistakes that I did last year,” Fowler said. “I really kind of had to kick myself in the butt, because I should have been playing on the weekend even with making a couple mistakes.”
It was Fowler’s first missed cut in six Masters appearances. Despite the 80 on Thursday, he responded with 73 on Friday to offer a promising round before returning to Augusta, and his play of late only adds to his confidence.
Fowler sees Augusta as a course that suits him because of the need for imaginative shots. The ability to shape shots in the air and use the slopes has served past champions such as Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson well.
That knowledge coupled with recent good form gives Fowler reasons to hope for a return to the leaderboard Sunday. In fact, the Masters is on his mind all season.
“You think about Augusta and the Masters all year … The final month before is when you bear down and focus and try to get the game going in the right direction,” he said.
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.