PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Rickie Fowler’s first swing of the day Sunday at The Open landed out of bounds. But before it did, it hit a course official who was standing in bounds left of the fairway. His ball ricocheted into the much-talked-about internal out of bounds on Royal Portrush’s first hole.
Fowler said he didn’t know it hit an official until much later. He made double bogey on the opening hole after hoping to make an early push to inch closer to leader Shane Lowry.
“That sucks,” he said after shooting a final-round 74 to tie for sixth place with three others. “Good thing I didn’t know because I probably would have been a little more pissed.”
Even though Fowler seemed unsettled after making 6 on the first hole, he quickly rattled off birdies at each of the next three holes to get under par on the round. Another double bogey at the 10th hole killed any momentum for the rest of the day. He followed with bogeys at 13, 14 and 17 to tie with Robert MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett.
It was Fowler’s 11th top-10 finish in a major. He tied for ninth place at the Masters earlier this year.
“Obviously, it wasn’t easy out there,” Fowler said. “I’m sure you guys saw some interesting scores and shots the second half of the day. Certain holes were just hanging on tight and try not to do anything really bad.”