Fowler takes lead in The Memorial
DUBLIN, Ohio — Rickie Fowler, the new kid in golf, gave himself a chance yesterday to be the next kid to win on the PGA Tour.
The 21-year-old Fowler ran off three straight birdies late in his round for a 6-under 66 to tie the 36-hole record at the Memorial Tournament and take a three-shot lead over Justin Rose into the weekend at soggy Muirfield Village.
Fowler was at 13-under 131. That tied the tournament record set by Scott Hoch in 1987.
Youth has been all the rage on the PGA Tour over the last month, with Rory McIlroy winning at Quail Hollow two days before his 21st birthday, and Jason Day winning the Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago at age 22.
They both turned pro three years ago. Fowler didn't turn pro until last summer, yet he already has lost in a playoff last fall and finished one shot behind in the Phoenix Open in February.
"Just being in contention the few times I have over the last eight months, this is by far the best I've felt," Fowler said.
Defending champion Tiger Woods is starting to feel a little better, too.
Woods was just inside the projected cut line when he started, and with his lackluster play on a course that can penalize errant shots, there was some question whether he would be around for all four rounds in his final event before the U.S. Open.
Those questions didn't last long. He birdied three of the opening five holes, then ran off three straight birdies on his front nine to offset the few mistakes for a 69. He was at 3-under 141, 10 shots behind, but still playing.
"I hit more good shots today than I did yesterday, and really putted well," Woods said.
Phil Mickelson, who has another chance to become No. 1 with a victory, was headed in that direction with a birdie-birdie-eagle stretch on the front nine, only to give it back by missing one par putt after another on the back nine. He closed with two straight birdies for a wild round of 71 that put him at 6-under 138, still in the game but seven shots behind.
ARMOUR III OPENS THREE-STROKE LEAD
Tommy Armour III matched the Glen Oaks record with an 8-under 63 yesterday to take a three-stroke lead in the Principal Charity Classic at West Des Moines, Iowa.
"I played good from the first hole until the last hole," Armour said.
Dan Forsman and Russ Cochran opened the Champions Tour event with 66s, and Bernhard Langer and Nick Price topped a group at 67. Forsman, seeking his second win in three starts, got as far as 7 under before a double bogey on No. 18.
NO. 1 OKLAHOMA ADVANCES TO SEMIS
Top-seeded Oklahoma State cruised to a 4-1 victory over Stanford to advance to the NCAA Division I men's golf semifinals at Chattanooga, Tenn.
Oregon beat Washington, 3-2, and will meet the Cowboys in today's semifinals.
In the other quarterfinals, No. 2 Florida State beat No. 7 Texas Tech, 4-1, and No. 6 Augusta State held off No. 3 Georgia Tech, 3-2.