Rickie Fowler makes ideal start to Scottish Open

Sport360 staff 20:34 12/07/2018
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Rickie Fowler raced out to the early read at the Scottish Open.

World number seven Rickie Fowler made the ideal start to his bid for a second Scottish Open title with an opening round of 64 at Gullane.

Fowler had a chance to card the first 59 in European Tour history after five birdies and an eagle took him to seven under par after 12 holes of the par-70 layout.

And although a bogey on the 13th was followed by five straight pars, that was good enough to share the lead on six under par with England’s Robert Rock, Sweden’s Jens Dantorp and Spain’s Scott Fernandez.

“The front was playing easier than the back and getting off and getting under par makes it a lot easier to hold on or try to get a couple extra on the way in,” said Fowler, whose victory at Gullane in 2015 prompted the members to rename the clubhouse bar in his honour.

“I got a couple early in the back nine and it would have been nice to keep it clean or, after the bogey, maybe make a couple more birdies coming in.

“But the back nine is playing tougher with where the wind is and could have presented some trouble, but I feel like we did a good job of avoiding that.

“I love playing links golf and being able to use your imagination and hit different shots. I feel like this golf course, you go around and you hit pretty much every club in your bag. You hit driver quite a bit. It’s just fun. Especially once the wind starts to blow a bit.”

Rock carded six birdies in a bogey-free round as he looks to secure one of the three places available in next week’s Open Championship for players finishing in the top 10, who are not otherwise exempt.

“It’s the last chance and it’s always disappointing to not play the Open,” said the 41-year-old, who finished seventh at St Andrews in 2010.

“I’m going as a coach anyway [he coaches fellow Englishman Matt Wallace] so I’ll be there. But I’d like to be playing.”

Olympic champion Justin Rose was three shots off the pace after an opening 67, while five-time major winner Phil Mickelson had to settle for a level-par 70.

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