|Rickie Fowler in contention again|
|Updated 6/2/2012 7:09 PM ET|
He's getting pretty used to making regular visits to the upper portion of the leaderboard, too.
The colorful fan favorite put himself in position for another win Saturday in the third round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. In blustery conditions under sunny skies, Fowler posted four birdies to offset a lone bogey, and his 69 put him at 5-under-par 211 after 54 holes.MORE: Spencer Levin leads after Round 3 RESULTS: Memorial Tournament leaderboard
In solo possession of third place, Fowler trailed Spencer Levin (69) by three and Rory Sabbatini (71) by two at the end of the day's play. Fowler, who will be clad from head to toe in his customary homage to orange in the final round, will play with Tiger Woods (73), who has won this tournament four times.
Fowler's good play is just the latest in a string of strong performances dating to his tie for 10th in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the end of April. The following week, he silenced his critics and posted the first victory of his career in the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte in his 67th start. A week later, he gave Matt Kuchar a scare down the stretch before finishing in a tie for second at The Players Championship in Florida. And last week, he tied for fifth in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth.
"(The key is) just being patient and kind of staying in the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves and just kind of focusing on each swing and staying really calm and patient out there," Fowler said. "I've been swinging really well, so that's obviously helped me stay very calm and collected out there. I'm very confident with my game and where I'm at mentally, so to get ourselves in a good position for (Sunday) being a few back, we'll go out and have some fun and see what we can do."
He'll do so drawing on some good local vibes. Central Ohio has been good to Fowler, who lost in a playoff as an amateur in the 2009 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course. He also got through U.S. Open qualifying on courses in the area in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he finished second to Justin Rose in the Memorial. Last year, he tied for 22nd in the Memorial.
"I've just played well in Columbus," he said. "I'm not sure what it is."
Whatever it is, it's working, especially on the course Jack Nicklaus built.
"I've hit a lot of good shots around here, so I've probably at least birdied every hole or had good shots on all holes out here. So definitely able to go into every hole out here comfortable and knowing that we've played it well and hit some good shots there helps," Fowler said. "I'm looking forward to (Sunday).
"Anywhere being around the lead on Sunday is good around here."
Especially, he said, if it's windy. Nicklaus' fondness for long carries over water, thin fairways, tiny greens and punishing bunkers provides a challenge even in the calmest conditions. Or as Woods said, "There are so many demanding holes that anything can happen."
"I love playing in the wind. I wouldn't mind it being like this for the last round," Fowler said. "I enjoy it. You've got to hit good golf shots and got to hit the ball solidly. I played well today, hit a few squirrelly shots, but other than that we kept it in play and made a few good swings coming in, made a couple birdies, so we put ourselves in a good spot.
"There's still a low number out there despite the wind, if you are playing well. It's not easy to go low, and someone that's in the lead is going to have a tough time pulling away. I wouldn't say five or six is too far back, but obviously three or four is kind of a good place to be."
|Posted 6/2/2012 6:27 PM ET|
|Updated 6/2/2012 7:09 PM ET|