Fowler finding short game magic at Barclays


FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – It’s hardly a surprise that Rickie Fowler has performed well tee-to-green through the first two rounds of The Barclays. The twist, though, has been that his short game has also showed up – and it’s a big reason why he’s in contention.

Fowler chased an opening 67 with a 2-under 69 at Bethpage Black, and at 6 under he shares second place, two shots behind Patrick Reed. With Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup fates hanging in the balance, Fowler is pleased to have strung together 36 holes with only a single dropped shot.

“Feels good, especially any time you can go bogey-free out here at this place, it’s good golf,” Fowler said. “Feel very good about my ball-striking and tee-to-green right now. See if we can get some more putts to go in.”

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After wobbly putting performances cost Fowler earlier this summer, he has taken only 28 putts in each of his first two rounds on the Black Course. He’s also 10 of 11 in scrambling, including a perfect 6-for-6 during the second round.

“I’ve definitely saved myself,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done a good job of missing those greens in the proper places, and then there’s been a couple that I’ve had to work some magic to get up-and-down.”

Fowler entered the week at No. 12 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, while the only man above him on the leaderboard clings to the eighth and final automatic spot. Fowler could still impress captain Davis Love III over the next two weeks to earn a pick, but he’d rather take care of business the old-fashioned way this weekend.

“If I win this week, I won’t have to worry about any of that,” he said. “It’s definitely on the priority list. The Ryder Cup, being on that team, is No. 1 on the priority list.”