By Alex Myers
By Hector Vivas
On the surface, Rickie Fowler shot the latest under-par score of his PGA Tour career on Thursday at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. But a quick glance at his scorecard shows it was unlike any round he's ever recorded.
Fowler tore up El Camaleon Golf Club for eight birdies during the opening round. And yet, thanks to one brutal hole, he only walked away shooting a one-under-par 70.
"I was really just trying to get out of that hole the best that I could with being out of position," Fowler told reporters after. "Really didn't make a bad swing. Made a decent swing with driver, just got it a little bit on the toe and it started moving and got on the other side of the wind. As you know, it was a little breezy out there this morning."
That hole was the par-4 12th, his third of the day. Fowler arrived there off a birdie-birdie start, but made a quadruple bogey to quickly fall back to two over.
"I think prior to this one of my best days with some big numbers," said Fowler, who also double bogeyed the par-4 third. "I mean, Augusta, I doubled 1 and I doubled 10 and shot 68. This has to be the lowest I've shot with a quad, though. That doesn't happen a whole lot."
Following the early quadruple, Fowler added two more birdies before making the turn. After the double bogey on No. 3, he closed with four birdies over his last six holes, including his final two to finish in red numbers.
"After I birdied the short par 3, No. 4, I went back, I told Joe (caddie Joe Skovron), like we can still actually shoot under par with everything that's gone on today," Fowler said. "It took some work. Yeah, I'm definitely happy with what we were able to do and salvage what could have been a really bad day."
While it's just one round, it could go a long way toward making Fowler's Christmas a lot brighter. Currently No. 49 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the five-time PGA Tour winner needs to finish in the top 50 by the year's final ranking if he wants to earn a Masters invite before next year.
Fowler hasns't had a top 10 on the PGA Tour since January at the American Express. His best finish thus far in the 2020-2021 season was a T-28 at the CJ Cup.
"Just trying to think as positive as possible and continue to move forward," said Fowler, who turns 32 later this month. "I think making good swings after the ones that were a little off, continuing to make birdies, it allows you to make some little mistakes here and there. Now it's time to continue making birdies and try to eliminate the mistakes."