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Rickie Fowler has never won a major in his career, but that will change at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills golf course in Wisconsin if he continues to play like he did Thursday.
Fowler paced the field in the first round with a seven-under 65, mixing in seven birdies with 11 pars. Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele are one stroke back, while Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka are two strokes behind the 28-year-old with three rounds remaining.
Fowler will be one of the later tee times Friday at 1:36 p.m. CT (2:36 p.m. ET) as he looks to hold off the rest of the field. With that in mind, here is a look at the full Friday pairings as well as a couple of second-round predictions.
Friday Tee Times and Pairings
The second round tee times are per the U.S. Open’s official website. All times are the course’s local CT.
Tee 1, 6:45 a.m. — Wade Ormsby, Oliver Bekker, Kyle Thompson
Tee 10, 6:45 a.m. — Jack Maguire, Corey Conners, Ben Kohles
Tee 1, 6:56 a.m. — Brandon Stone, Troy Merritt, Chris Wood
Tee 10, 6:56 a.m. — Eddie Pepperell, Chan Kim, Gregory Bourdy
Tee 1, 7:07 a.m. — Satoshi Kodaira, Daniel Summerhays, Alexander Levy
Tee 10, 7:07 a.m. — Jhonattan Vegas, Yuta Ikeda, Sean O’Hair
Tee 1, 7:18 a.m. — William McGirt, Keegan Bradley, Kevin Na
Tee 10, 7:18 a.m. — Andrew Johnston, Brian Stuard, George Coetzee
Tee 1, 7:29 a.m. — Brad Dalke (a), Wesley Bryan, Brendan Steele
Tee 10, 7:29 a.m. — Marc Leishman, Pat Perez, Si Woo Kim
Tee 1, 7:40 a.m. — Nick Flanagan, Richie Ramsay, Bryson DeChambeau
Tee 10, 7:40 a.m. — Russell Henley, Scottie Scheffler (a), Harris English
Tee 1, 7:51 a.m. — Daniel Berger, Roberto Castro, Bill Haas
Tee 10, 7:51 a.m. — Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia
Tee 1, 8:02 a.m. — Adam Hadwin, Emiliano Grillo, Cheng-Tsung Pan
Tee 10, 8:02 a.m. — Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen
Tee 1, 8:13 a.m. — Scott Piercy, Shane Lowry, Jim Furyk
Tee 10, 8:13 a.m. — Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas, Paul Casey
Tee 1, 8:24 a.m. — Matthew Fitzpatrick, Peter Uihlein, Byeong Hun An
Tee 10, 8:24 a.m. — Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy
Tee 1, 8:35 a.m. — Kevin Chappell, Maverick McNealy (a), Bernd Wiesberger
Tee 10, 8:35 a.m. — Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink, Roberto Diaz
Tee 1, 8:46 a.m. — Xander Schauffele, Trey Mullinax, Cameron Champ (a)
Tee 10, 8:46 a.m. — Ryan Brehm, John Oda (a), Jonathan Randolph
Tee 1, 8:57 a.m. — Sam Ryder, Alex Smalley (a), Andy Pope
Tee 10, 8:57 a.m. — Mason Andersen (a), Derek Barron, Roman Robledo
Tee 1, 12:30 p.m. – Whee Kim, Ted Potter Jr., Daniel Chopra
Tee 10, 12:30 p.m. — Jordan Niebrugge, Talor Gooch, Kevin Dougherty
Tee 1, 12:41 p.m. — Shugo Imahira, Ryan Palmer, Matthew Wallace
Tee 10, 12:41 p.m. — Andres Romero, Brice Garnett, Davis Love IV
Tee 1, 12:52 p.m. — Charley Hoffman, Jason Dufner, Hideto Tanihara
Tee 10, 12:52 p.m. — Yusaku Miyazato, J.T. Poston, Aaron Rai
Tee 1, 1:03 p.m. — Jeunghun Wang, Thomas Aiken, Bradley Dredge
Tee 10, 1:03 p.m. — David Lingmerth, Paul Dunne, Haotong Li
Tee 1, 1:14 p.m. — Scott Harvey (a), Jamie Lovemark, Michael Putnam
Tee 10, 1:14 p.m. — Stewart Hagestad (a), Chez Reavie, Gene Sauers
Tee 1, 1:25 p.m. — Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood, Bud Cauley
Tee 10, 1:25 p.m. –Brandt Snedeker, Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton
Tee 1, 1:36 p.m. — Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm
Tee 10, 1:36 p.m. — Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Brooks Koepka
Tee 1, 1:47 p.m. — Lee Westwood, Ross Fisher, Graeme McDowell
Tee 10, 1:47 p.m. — Gary Woodland, J.B. Holmes, Jason Kokrak
Tee 1, 1:58 p.m. — Danny Willett, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera
Tee 10, 1:58 p.m. — Russell Knox, Scott Gregory (a), Martin Laird
Tee 1, 2:09 p.m. — Matt Kuchar, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed
Tee 10, 2:09 p.m. — Kevin Kisner, Billy Horschel, Branden Grace
Tee 1, 2:20 p.m. — Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson
Tee 10, 2:20 p.m. — Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, Lucas Glover
Tee 1, 2:31 p.m. — Joaquin Niemann (a), Stephan Jaeger, Joel Stalter
Tee 10, 2:31 p.m. — Tyson Alexander, Christopher Crawford (a), Max Greyserman
Tee 1, 2:42 p.m. — Daniel Miernicki, Sahith Theegala (a), Tyler Light
Tee 10, 2:42 p.m. — Matthew Campbell, Garrett Osborn, Walker Lee (a)
Rickie Fowler Continues Rolling
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There has been a first-time winner in each of the last six majors, and Fowler is set on extending the streak to seven after a historic performance.
According to Ben Everill of the PGA Tour’s official website, Fowler’s seven-under tied Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf for the best opening round in relation to par in U.S. Open history. It was the type of showing that has earned Fowler the designation among some as the best golfer without a major, which he addressed.
“It would be nice to get rid of that at some point,” he said, per Everill. “I’m not saying that this is the week or isn’t the week. But I like the way this golf course suits me, and we’re off to a good start.”
Even without a major victory, contention at a marquee event is familiar territory for Fowler. He shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the moment Friday after he placed in the top five of each of the four majors in 2014 and won the Players Championship in 2015. He was also a single stroke behind entering the final round of this year’s Masters.
Fowler notched critical back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 as well as Nos. 11 and 12 Thursday and didn’t fall back with a single bogey. Avoiding untimely bogeys will be critical as he looks to create additional space between himself and his fellow competitors before the weekend.
The PGA Tour shared highlights of his round:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
[email protected] went low in Round 1 of the U.S. Open. Really low. https://t.co/FkqETlNBwd
Look for more of the same Friday. Fowler’s PGA Tour profile notes he is third in scoring average and birdie average, meaning he continues to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves. There is no reason to expect anything different in the second round after his seven Thursday birdies.
He proved he can avoid bogeys on this course and will continue capitalizing on the birdie chances, which will help him maintain the lead before moving day.
Jordan Spieth Makes Charge up Leaderboard
Chris Carlson/Associated Press
Like Fowler, Jordan Spieth is one of the star names on the PGA Tour, but he was far off the leader’s pace Thursday.
Spieth finished with a one-over 73 and notched just one birdie throughout his entire round. He started on the back nine and tallied eight pars and a birdie on No. 11, but back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 derailed his Thursday showing.
Spieth had just recently rounded into form with a second-place finish at the Dean and Deluca Invitational and 13th-place showing at the Memorial after missing the cut at the Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.
While he couldn’t continue his momentum, he still has 10 top-25 showings in 14 events this season and will demonstrate his consistency again in the second round of the U.S. Open.
He needs a run of birdies Friday to climb back into contention, and he has shown his ability to do just that all season. According to his PGA Tour profile, Spieth is fourth in greens in regulation percentage and second in scoring average and birdie average.
Look for Spieth to find the greens like he so often does and then convert on those birdie chances as he makes up for a lackluster showing Thursday.