BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (Aug. 2, 2007)-- Rickie Fowler maintained his mastery of Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club on Thursday, turning in a 2-under-par 68 after an opening round 65 to build a two-stroke lead at 7-under-par 133 through 36 holes in the 105th Western Amateur Championship.
Fowler, the 2005 Western Junior champion, is playing in his first Western Amateur but is scoring like a veteran at the nation’s second-oldest amateur golf tournament. He hit 17 greens in regulation in his second competitive round at the Point.
“I’m hitting the ball well and keeping it in play, I just didn’t make any putts,” said Fowler, who won the Sunnehanna Amateur in June and the Players Amateur in July. “I need to go out and keep hitting the ball well and give myself opportunities for birdie. If I can make a few more putts, I should be pretty good.”
Making the Sweet 16 in his first Western Amateur “would be awesome,” said Fowler, who is joining the Oklahoma State University golf squad as a freshman this fall. “There are some great players here.”
Fowler, 18, Murrieta, California, credited his caddie – former Murrieta Valley High School teammate Andrew Cortez – with assisting him in navigating the Point the past two days.
“He’s helping me. He knows my game,” said Fowler. “He caddied for me last year when I made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur, and he wanted to come here to caddie for me.”
Fowler led a field of 58 players who made the 36-hole cut at 144 or better.
Two shots back of Fowler at 5-under-par 135 were Lucas Lee, a junior at UCLA; Jhonattan Vegas, a 2007 University of Texas graduate; and first-round co-leader Alex Prugh, a 2007 University of Washington graduate. Lee fired a 5-under-par 65 Thursday following an even par 70 on Wednesday; Vegas shot rounds of 68-67 to keep pace, while Prugh shot even par 70 Thursday after turning in a 5-under-par 65 Wednesday.