If you’re a golf fan who’s even stumbled onto Twitter in the past, you’ve probably come across Rickie Fowler, who heads into every tournament with one message: “Go Time”. Well, despite what has been a tremendously up-and-down season for Fowler, it was certainly “go time” on Saturday at the U.S. Open, and he has earned a spot in Sunday’s final pairing.
Fowler has at times this year looked like he could be a world-beater, or like he was just beaten by the world. After tying for fifth place at the Masters, he went on to miss three of his next five cuts, including another secondary cut at The PLAYERS Championship. It seemed as though all the progress he made working with coach Butch Harmon had fallen off, but perhaps it just took a little more time.
With three rounds in the books, here’s a quick look at the top ten:
1. Martin Kaymer, -8
T2. Fowler, Erik Compton, -3
T4. Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, -2
6. Brandt Snedeker, -1
T7. Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Na, E
T10. Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Chris Kirk, Brendon de Jonge, +1
Fowler and Compton tied for the low round of the day with matching scores of three-under 67, the only two players able to get themselves in red numbers. Fans who complained that Pinehurst No. 2 was too easy on Thursday and Friday certainly got their wishes granted.
It was just a day of attrition, where the question wasn’t if you would give back strokes, but how many. Leader Kaymer’s early eagle on the fifth saved what could have been more than a two-shot swing, and Brendon Todd, who came into the day tied for second, shot 79 to drop into a tie for 30th.
Now the stage is set for what could be a dramatic Sunday finish. Kaymer cracked ever so slightly on Saturday. Fowler, one of the more divisive personalities on the PGA Tour, has earned a chance to prove that he has what it takes to consistently contend, and may yet find a way to win his first major. While several other stars are close behind, the momentum gained with a round like today’s could give Fowler the edge he needs.
Will he be able to hold it together if the opportunity presents itself? That’s tough to say. But in a week that started with the 25-year-old honoring Payne Stewart by donning his trademark knickerbocker style, it would only be fitting if this somehow came down to a putt on that historic 18th green.