PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — He’s there again. In contention for a major. Check the scoreboard for this 148th British Open. Rickie Fowler’s name is up among the leaders.
But Fowler's name has never been at the top of the scoreboard at the end of play on Sunday. It probably won't be different this time either at Royal Portrush. But he's certainly trying.
Fowler shot a 5-under-par 66 on Saturday, a solid score and is at 205 after three rounds. Trouble is, leader Shane Lowry shot a magnificent 63 and is at an astounding 197, so Fowler finds himself eight shots back.
The conditions are supposed to change Sunday. There’s a forecast of rain and wind, conditions that often pop up at the Open. The worse the weather, the better for someone off the pace to make a move. Tiger Woods, who missed the cut here, always hopes for miserable weather when he trails.
Fowler might fall into the category of best player never to win a major, though he could be entering the prime of his career at age 30. Lee Westwood, who really does own that title at age 46, is tied with Fowler after three rounds.
This is Fowler's 40th major. In 2014 he finished second in the British Open and the U.S. Open, third at the PGA and fifth at the Masters. It seemed to portend a major championship career, but it hasn't quite happened.
“If I don’t win a major that’s not going to necessarily define me,” Fowler said before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach a month ago. “So I want to win a major? Yes. I would love to and then knock off some more after that.”
What he said on Saturday, speaking in the plural after Danny Willett also shot 66, was “We gave ourselves a chance. We went in the right direction. That’s for sure.”
If the prediction of some wild weather does show up on Sunday, Fowler recalled making up a lot of ground in the third round in 2011 at Royal St. George's, where he eventually finished fifth.
“I moved in contention," said Fowler. "You’ve just got to take what you get. That’s links golf.”
Fowler is planning on wearing his traditional Sunday orange golf clothing (he's an Oklahoma State alum). In Northern Ireland the color orange is associated with the Orange Order, the protestant fraternal order that is on the unionist side of the Northern Irish divide.
“I obviously know the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But a few people told me that being not a local, it doesn't necessarily matter as much or it shouldn't,” Fowler said
With wires services