British Open 2019: After a stellar third round, Rickie Fowler is (again) in the mix at a major

July 20, 2019

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — The 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush marks the 40th major of Rickie Fowler’s playing career. Though he’s come tantalizing close to claiming a major title for himself on a handful of occasions, the 30-year-old American has yet to break through.

The Open Championship has offered two of those close calls: a T3 finish in 2014 at Royal Liverpool, and a T5 at Royal Birkdale in 2017. This year, yet another Royal golf club is offering an opportunity for major glory, and after firing a five-under 66 on Saturday, Fowler is right in the mix.

“We just gave ourselves a chance,” said Fowler, who is eight under overall. “I definitely left some out there but you can always look back and say you left some out there. We went the right direction today, that’s for sure. Regardless of how far back we are we’re going to go out there tomorrow and give it a run and leave it all out there, especially with the weather we’re supposed to potentially have.”

The weather Fowler is referring to is the Sunday forecast for some serious wind, which could have a major effect on the late-afternoon tee times, which were already moved up for the day.

“It should be interesting,” Fowler said. “That’s where it kind of gets fun.”

Fowler has long been one of the most popular players on Tour. With five career wins and 69 career top 10s, he’s also one of the most consistent. Though he has a Players Championship title among his five victories, the one thing his playing resume has been missing is a major. Now, with one more stellar round on Sunday, a Claret Jug could be within his grasp.

“All I can do is go out there tomorrow and just play a damn good round of golf and see what happens,” Fowler said. “So we’ll leave it all out there, have some fun, at least try to in the weather. And that’s all we can do.”

Luckily for Fowler, the fun part will be easy — at least off the course. He and Tour buddies Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Jimmy Walker are sharing a house this week, which makes it easy to kill time before those late-afternoon starts.

“Tonight we’ll all have dinner and hang out, whether it’s movies or watching some golf,” Fowler said. “It’s a good escape. It’s a fun hang. I know we’ve all enjoyed it the last few years when we’ve been able to get either a big house or two houses together.”

Fowler finished within just a few shots of the lead, but since he got to the clubhouse and spoke to the media, Shane Lowry went wild. Fowler has an uphill climb to major glory. But there is precedent for even greater final-round comebacks in Open Championship history: Paul Lawrie completed a 10-shot comeback at the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, and more recently, in 2012, Ernie Els overcame a six-shot deficit to win in 2012. Could it come to be for Fowler?

“You never know what can happen,” he said.

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