It was a good Saturday for Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas at TPC River Highlands.
The two golfers entered the Travelers Championship both with the desire to shake off the previous weekend’s disappointments; a missed cut for Thomas and a Sunday collapse for Fowler. Both are set to accomplish just that after an electric moving day saw both record two of the lowest scores of the day that put the duo entering Sunday’s final round within the top 10.
Rickie Fowler Sets Yet Another Record
Last week at the Los Angeles Country Club, Rickie Fowler set the record for the lowest round at a U.S. Open with a 62 on Thursday. Today, he set a personal record. Fowler’s 60 (-10) at TPC River Highlands marked his career-low round on the PGA Tour. He’s currently at -15 through 54 holes.
His moving day included zero bogeys, eight birdies, and an eagle on the 6th.
Fowler’s second shot on the par-5 575-yard 6th got him just short of the green, where he holed out for eagle 59-feet from the hole.
Prior to the eagle, the former Okie had recorded three pars that followed four consecutive birdies finishing out the back nine and starting the front.
He followed up his eagle with a birdie on the par-3 8th, where he teed off with his 7-iron to leave an easy birdie putt.
"“After seeing my daughter and wife coming off the 18th, a lot of that was kind of behind me. And then more just looking forward knowing how we’ve been playing, all the good stuff from last week, and just wanting to continue to go play some good golf and put myself in positions where I have chances to win.”"
The former Cowboy also talked about how he was able to climb up the leaderboard and stay afloat amongst a leaderboard that was continuing to post low scores.
"“Well, you never say you’re necessarily out of a tournament, but being ten back it’s really up to either a round like I put together or the leaders not necessarily going anywhere. You just kind of go out there and see what happens.”"
Rickie Fowler knows he will have a hard fight to catch tournament leader Keegan Bradley, who sits at -21 through 54.
“I’m going to need another really good round of golf to give myself a legit shot,” he added.
Justin Thomas Bounces Back after U.S. Open Low Point
Not only did Justin Thomas record a 62 to put last Friday’s 81 behind him and work his way up the leaderboard during round three, but he also gave us some pretty fun highlights doing it.
Thomas’ -8 round put his ball striking and short-game on full display; he led in strokes gained: approach to green and finished fifth in strokes gained: around the green.
On the 487-yard par-4 4th hole, Thomas holed out for birdie 66-feet from the hole; his 16th birdie in his last 29 holes at the time.
The putter was on fire too for Thomas as he sank a 39-foot putt on the par-3 8th. Thomas couldn’t help but smile wide after his 9th birdie of the day, a much-welcomed site after the mental low he described last Friday.
And for as much fun as we had watching JT today, he had just as much fun playing.
When asked what clicked the last two rounds for him, Thomas shared that he just played well.
"“I haven’t necessarily tried to do anything different. Just obviously a little more confidence. Just obviously more confidence, but am actually having fun playing golf, which is something I haven’t been able to say for a while.”"
When prodded more on what changed from last weekend to this weekend, Thomas joked with reporters and re-iterated he felt that last week’s disaster was just a fluke and like Fowler, was able to push it aside to start fresh.
"“Yeah, just my scores by about 50. No, working on the same stuff with my golf swing. I felt like — I mean, it just was such a bad week, like I said, I legitimately felt like it was a fluke. That honestly hurt a lot less than it did at Augusta missing it by one, bogeying the last hole. – –It just was honestly so bad that it was easier to put behind me. I felt like I was working on the right things in my swing, and like I said, just in such a better headspace this week.”"
Last weekend, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas both found themselves meditating on low moments, the former getting candid about what he’s learned going through low points after another disappointing loss, and the latter being honest about the immense struggles he felt after a career-tying low and consecutive missed cut.
This weekend, Fowler has been able to continue his impressive play and hold his comments true; he is indeed trending upward through each tournament. Thomas has been able to pick up the pieces of what was a defining moment of his season’s slump and a career low point, his 14-over-par finish through 36 holes at the U.S. Open.
While both will be chasing Keegan Bradley’s lead at -21 during Sunday’s final round, they can arguably already file this weekend away as a positive for both their seasons and career as they’ll get to one day reflect back on the positive turnarounds and fighting spirits they carried.