‘I’m not scared to fail’: Rickie Fowler leads Rocket Mortgage at 20 under in bid to end drought
DETROIT — Rickie Fowler has put himself in a position to win a PGA Tour title again.
He’s hoping to take advantage for a change.
Fowler birdied six of his last eight holes Saturday to surge into the Rocket Mortgage Classic lead at 20 under, giving him another chance to end a four-year PGA Tour victory drought.
“I’m not scared to fail,” said Fowler, who had an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Adam Hadwin at Detroit Golf Club. “I’ve dealt with plenty of that.”
Two weeks ago, in Los Angeles in the U.S. Open, Fowler squandered a chance with a closing 75 in a fifth-place tie. And last week at the Travelers Championship, he shot a career-best 60 in the third round to contend and closed with a 69 to drop into a tie for 13th.
“Felt really good Sunday last week and just didn’t get anything going, didn’t get anything out of it,” Fowler said. “Sunday at the U.S. Open, timing got a little off.”
The 34-year-old Fowler has led or shared the 54-hole lead 10 times on the PGA Tour and has converted the advantage into a championship just twice.
Fowler, who has never won a major, won the 2019 Phoenix Open for his only victory in six years. He’s making his 96th start since his last title, shooting to end the longest drought of his career and win for the sixth time on the PGA Tour.
“Whether it happens (Sunday) or not, it’s going to happen here soon,” said Fowler, who has seven top-10 finishes this season and is No. 17 in the FedExCup standings. “I’ve been playing a lot of really good golf and been putting myself in good positions.
“This definitely won’t be the last.”
Hadwin had a season-low 63 to tie the tournament record.
“One of the hardest things in golf is to get out of your own way when things are going well,” he said. “I’ve been victim of that.”
Hadwin was the victim of mistaken identity a few weeks ago when he was tackled by a security guard at the Canadian Open after fellow Canadian Nick Taylor’s victory.
Hadwin rushed the 18th green at Oakdale in Toronto while spraying celebratory bubbly from a bottle after Taylor beat Tommy Fleetwood. A guard trying to protect Taylor took Hadwin to the ground and videos of the scene went viral on social media.
“Everybody knows who I am because I’m the guy who got tackled,” he said.
Taylor Pendrith, who is also Canadian, was third at 18 under after a 67. The big-hitter bogeyed two of his last four holes at Detroit Golf Club.
Hadwin is hoping to become the fifth player from Canada to win on the PGA Tour this season.
“I certainly don’t want to be left behind,” he said. “It’s a pretty fun leaderboard right now with Taylor and I at the top on Canada Day.”
If Hadwin or Pendrith win the Rocket Mortgage Classic, it will mark the first time that five-plus players from outside the U.S. won on the PGA Tour in one season since six Australians earned titles during the 2013-14 season.
Monday qualifier Peter Kuest (65) and Aaron Rai (66) were 17 under. Taylor Moore (69) was another stroke back with four other players, including Collin Morikawa, who shot a 67 for the second-straight day.
Play was suspended for 1 hour, 42 minutes because of lightning in the area and the schedule for the final round was adjusted in the hopes of completing the final round with inclement weather in the forecast.
The leaders will tee off Sunday morning just before 9 a.m. — about 5 hours before the original schedule — and threesomes will start on both the front and back nine.