Rickie Fowler showed his potential by spending most of his first round of the PGA Championship at 2 under par. He then gave it back on his day’s final hole to finish his day even par.
Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12-13 got Fowler to 2 under through his first four holes at Oak Hill; another at No. 18 had him 3 under, though he immediately returned to 2 under with a bogey at No. 1. He followed with seven straight pars.
Fowler then ended his day with a double-bogey at No. 9 that saw him struggle to find the green — driving the ball in the rough and finding a fairway bunker with his second shot, then the rough again. He pitched on and two-putted. Fowler said a bad lie contributed to the struggle, but that he "compounded" the situation as well.
"Yeah, probably about as bad as I could score out there today," Fowler said, asked about the ninth. "Felt like I was swinging it well. Hit some good putts that didn’t go in and little bit of tough way to finish, but definitely draw on the positive.
"Swung really well today and was very consistent. Just missed a few greens at the end, but all in all off to a decent start."
Rain in the morning was less of a factor that might have been expected, Fowler said.
"It did soften it up a little bit, made some pins a little more assessable, some of the front pins. The rough wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, with it possibly being wet. . . . It looks like a good setup and just unfortunately I couldn’t get more out of it.
The ninth at Oak Hill also Tiger Woods would later double-bogey No. 9 to end his day, his troubles instead taking place around the green.
Fowler’s best finish in a major is tied for fifth at the 2011 British Open. His only other top-10 in a major came at this year’s US Open at Merion, where he never threatened to win after a second-round 76.