Fowler and Schauffele make history at U.S. Open

Rickie Fowler continued his recent resurgence to write his name into U.S. Open history after firing a championship record 62 at LA Country Club, before being joined in the history books by Xander Schauffele just 20 minutes later as the two topped the leaderboard on day one of the third Major Championship of the season.

Fowler made ten birdies and two bogeys in a stunning 62 that only the lowest round ever at a U.S. Ope, but also matched the lowest round at a men’s Major – posted by Branden Grace at The Open Championship in 2017.

The five-time PGA Tour winner would only hold the solo lead for less than half an hour as fellow United States Ryder Cup star Schauffele also got to eight under after a bogey-free effort.

It’s quite the turnaround in form for Fowler from last season, when he dropped to as low as 173rd in the World Ranking after missing eight of 22 cuts and only qualifying for one Major, finishing T23rd in the PGA Championship.

The American split with his swing coach and ditched caddy Joe Skovron in a bid to turn things around, before returning to the tutelage of Butch Harmon, who had overseen six of Fowler’s worldwide wins.

Since then, the fan-favourite has enjoyed a welcome return to upper echelons of the game, finishing inside the top 20 of all but three events he has played in 2023 to move back inside the top 50 of the World Ranking.

“It’s definitely been long and tough,” said Fowler. “A lot longer being in that situation than you’d ever want to. But it makes it so worth it having gone through that and being back where we are now.

“I would say we’re starting to get maybe as close as we’ve ever been to where I was through kind of that 14, 15 area. I’ve been playing fairly consistently but a lot of it for me is what I’ve been able to get out of off-weeks where I’m not playing very well and still able to make the cut and kind of turn those into at least top-20s or top-10s and the last few years those were missed cuts and going home.

“This week off to a good start but there’s still plenty of golf to be played. It’s going to be tough tomorrow afternoon. But at least got out of the gate and we’re off to a good start.”

Schauffele, who finished in a share of third at the U.S. Open in 2019, was surprised at how low the scoring was on day one in California, with 37 players under par at the exclusive club.

“It’s not really what you expect playing a U.S. Open,” he said. “But monkey see, monkey do. Was just chasing Rickie up the leaderboard. Glad he was just in front of me.

“My job is just to play. I try not to speculate too much. I’m going to take what the course can give me, and today it gave me a low one, and we’re going to have to assess it as we go on.”

Wyndham Clark and Dustin Johnson were two shots back on a leaderboard dominated by home stars, with Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy and American Brian Harman at five under.

World Number One Scottie Scheffler, fellow Americans Sam Bennett, Bryson DeChambeau and Harris English, Frenchman Paul Barjon, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes and South Korean Si Woo Kim were five shots off the lead.

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