Young gun Fowler, journeyman Compton converge in Pinehurst

Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:13pm EDT
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton have followed very different paths to the PGA Tour but they converged in impressive style at the U.S. Open on Saturday as they ended the third round tied for second place.

Fowler, one of the most exciting talents to emerge in recent years, and journeyman Compton, a double heart-transplant recipient who has played mainly on the satellite tours, soared into contention with matching three-under-par 67s.

Though they trail tournament leader Martin Kaymer of Germany by five shots heading into Sunday's final round at Pinehurst Resort, the two Americans have so far relished their performances in the second major championship of the season.

"I'm very, very pleased with today's work," Fowler, 25, told reporters after he and Compton were the only two players in the 67-man field to shoot under par on a difficult day for scoring. "I kept it in play and stayed out of trouble when I could.

"I kind of minimized mistakes when I was in trouble, and made some good swings in bad spots. I made some really good iron swings, and got up and down when I needed to. It was all about moving forward today."

Fowler, who made the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team during his rookie PGA Tour season before clinching his first title on the circuit at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, has been especially delighted with his form in this year's majors.

He tied for fifth at the Masters in April and is in good position to record the fourth top-10 of his career in the majors at Pinehurst on Sunday.

"The main goal going into the year was to be ready for the majors and go contend in the majors," said the Californian. "I put myself in that position at Augusta and I've done that this week.   Continued...

 
Rickie Fowler of the U.S. lines up his putt on the 14th green during the third round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith