LA JOLLA, California (June 12, 2008) -- As Rickie Fowler approached the sixth green at Torrey Pines during Thursday's opening round of the US Open, a member of the gallery pointed him out to his buddies.
"Look at that pup -- what's he got in that little bag, his toys?"
The bag, bearing the orange and black colors of Oklahoma State, is the one Fowler carried to finish 4th at the NCAA's and the one he used all season as he was named the top college golfer in the U.S. It is also the same bag he carried to get himself into this Open in the Ohio sectional qualifier, just before defending The Sunnehanna Amateur in Pennsylvania last weekend.
The question isn't whether Fowler has the game, it just might be, does he ever get tired?
Teeing off with a bright orange shirt and white pants two groups in front of the 8:06am Woods-Mickelson-Scott pairing, Fowler found the leaderboard early, with a birdie at the 2nd hole. A bogey-birdie-bogey stretch on holes 6 through 8 brought him back to even par, and he went over par for the first time with a bogey at the long 12th.
Closing out the round in style, the 19-year-old from Murrieta, California birdied Nos. 14 and 18, and grabbed a spot in the top 10 (ahead of favorites Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) heading into Friday's second round.
I wonder if the guy in the gallery is going to make the connection later when he looks at the scoreboard.
- story by Pete Wlodkowski