Saturday, 24 June, 2017

Fowler rides fast start to soar into Masters contention

Damon Campbell | 10 April, 2017, 02:38

"In any major, I am not good enough. They were rolling perfectly", he said.

Those facts were not in dispute. South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters victor, was four-under in fourth with six holes to play.

"The conclusion is I have to play for second or third place", he said.

"These conditions were a bit more of a surprise".

However, the 23-year-old Texan responded superbly in round two, birdies on the 13th, 16th and 18th enabling him to get back to level par for the tournament - four adrift of co-leaders Rickie Fowler, Thomas Pieters, Sergio Garcia and Charley Hoffman.

"The wind got me with my putt, sort of the ball went up the green instead of coming back down". Three years ago, Fowler finished among the top five in all four majors and didn't kick down the door.

Garcia had birdied the first three holes but dropped his first shot of the week on the fourth, before another bogey on the 10th was confusingly changed on the scoring system to a triple-bogey seven. He went on to make bogey.

For all that happened atop the Masters leader board, it was one name just down the list that attracted most of the attention Saturday at Augusta National. "It was fine." He has suffered worse in these things.

There's the villain. Belgium's Thomas Pieters, best known for shushing the USA crowd at the Ryder Cup, ignited his round with an eagle on No. 13 and birdie on 14.

"It's amusing how some guys hit the pin and it goes to a foot", he said that day.

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Abe told reporters Japan would cooperate closely with the United States and South Korea to protect people's lives and well-being. North Korean state media said the projectile is a surface-to-surface missile that can carry nuclear warheads.

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It would also bring a host of problems, given the malnourished state of many of North Korea's people and its poor health system. The potential of sports in the private sector was felt during the hockey game between the North and South Korean teams.

Garcia, 37 and still seeking his first major title, had three squares on his card, but the most noteworthy of the trio was the bogey on 10 - because he was one of very few on the grounds who knew that he had made one.

But, a decade after the collapse at Carnoustie, Garcia has been transformed from the whiny brat who never could beat Tiger Woods to a grizzled older fellow who came to Augusta for the 19th time this week as something of an afterthought. But a wild second shot sprayed the patrons to the right of the green, leaving a treacherous third shot over a bunker.

Rose, the 2013 US Open victor, birdied five of the last seven holes to shoot 67 in ideal conditions. Friday he was a little more consistent.

"Man, I fought hard today", Mickelson said. "It was a bad one", he said. Somewhere, the golf gods nod knowingly. That group included former Masters champions Adam Scott (69) and Charl Schwartzel (68).

Spieth's successful birdie try at 18 prompted a huge roar from the Augusta patrons and Saturday will feature the tantalising prospect of the world number six playing in the company of three-time Masters victor Phil Mickelson. Though many players don't keep an eye on the scores throughout the round, Fowler will be watching intently.

Fowler would have the lead alone if he didn't put the ball in a lateral water hazard on 15.

He says those doubts about his game are gone. The crowds are so great and they have been so gracious to me and our history out here and it's just incredible to play in front of them.

Augusta National has strict rules that forbid anyone from taking a phone or camera on to the course, a throwback to the days of spectators who focused exclusively on the action as opposed to capturing a selfie or tweeting. And he couldn't sound much happier.

"If I can put together a 67 or a 66 tomorrow, I feel like I'll be right in there for Sunday", he said. "This experience is fantastic. So it's really just kind of thinking around it an using a bit of experience".

"It's nice not to see people Tindering or playing on Facebook", said Kris Aylett, who lives in Augusta. "So, it's been, it's ideal".

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