Date: June 14, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes at Pebble Beach

Rose leads, Fowler #DoingItForJarrod

Rickie Fowler, as ever, caught the eye at Pebble Beach today.

But it wasn’t just his five-under 66 that left him in a four-way tie for second and just one behind first-round US Open leader Justin Rose.

Fowler, known for pressing golf’s fashion boundaries, rocked a variation of his mullet hairstyle, again keeping his gone but not forgotten Aussie mate Jarrod Lyle front of mind.

Fowler and Jason Dufner used their lengthy locks in May to help the former PGA champion’s kids’ charity in Alabama.

“And I thought crazy hair, I mean, being involved with Jarrod Lyle over the year and wearing Leuk the Duck (pins), the crazy hair kind of goes against the kids and the people that have to end up losing their hair through chemo and dealing with that.

“So I've got plenty of hair for Jarrod up here, at least out the back. And that's a big focus on my foundation.

“It's been fun. I got it cleaned up this week. Like I said, we're just having a good time with it and not necessarily trying to look good,” he said in typically good humour.


Click here for the full #USOpen leaderboard


Fowler is regarded as one of the best players never to have won a major championship, yet is no stranger to the lofty perches of their early-round leaderboards.

Alongside emerging star Xander Schauffele, former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and former Australian Master of the Amateurs champ Aaron Wise at five under in chase of Rose, Fowler’s challenge is to maintain his zen.

“It's been a long road to get to the point where majors (feel) like another week, because they are bigger, they're majors and there’s a lot going on,” he said, reflecting that he stuck well to his pre-shot process.

“If I had any worry, I backed off or made sure I went through the process again,” he said.

“And that gets more and more important, especially when you get to Saturday (or) Sunday and things start to speed up.

“I think that's been something that I've … learned from past experiences, (that) things can start to move quickly.

“(I need to) make sure to stay the same pace that we were today because when … you get in contention, you get a little amped up and you start to move a little too quickly.

“And if you're walking fast, it kind of falls into your swing and different stuff like that.

“You start walking fast, you start breathing a bit more (and so on).

“It's a lot easier said than done. It seems pretty simple.”

Rose was equally as calm, having matched Tiger Woods’ best opening-round score at a Pebble Beach Open, his 2000 romp that ended in a 15-shot victory.

It also helped the Englishman, who won this event at Merion in 2013, had only 22 putts, gaining an astonishing average of 5.5 strokes over the field on the greens.

“I wouldn't say it's exhilarating, because I feel like my mindset is I am in a 72-hole tournament,” said Rose, who closed with three great birdies.

“This is just a very small step towards the outcome, so you don't feel like that buzz you would on a Sunday.

“But you can't help but look around over your shoulder, and (think), `Damn, this is Pebble Beach, (you) shot 65 and you're in the US Open’.

“It's a cool moment. Whatever transpires the rest of the week, it was a cool moment.

“The round was going nicely. I was three under par, had a rough patch, had to scramble, work hard, keep my round together.

“But even when I made a mistake, I was willing to accept (it).

“I was trying to stay patient with myself mentally, but kept `up-and-downing’ the ball, kept the momentum up and then got rewarded with a hot finish … (to take) a good round to a great round.

“Obviously a fun day of golf.”

Still, it’s a packed leaderboard after an historic day of scoring at Pebble Beach with 39 players – including Aussies Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Jason Day – under par and another 18, including Cam Smith, at even par.