Fowler delight after further major progress at Pinehurst

Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:34pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler ended up a distant eight shots behind runaway champion Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort on Sunday but was thrilled with a tie for second, his best finish at a major.

Heading into this year, young gun Fowler had made a top priority of the four majors and midway through his 2014 campaign it is a case of so far, so good as he started off with joint fifth place in the Masters at Augusta National in April.

"I'm really happy about it," the American, one of the game's most exciting talents to emerge in recent years, told reporters after shooting a two-over-par 72 on a tricky Pinehurst layout for a one-under total of 279.

"My goals going into the year were to get ready for Augusta and then contend at majors ... so I am definitely pleased about that and looking forward to the next two (majors).

"This year at Augusta it was definitely the most comfortable I felt on the golf course, being in contention and hanging around and playing well on the weekend. The same with this week here at Pinehurst."

Fowler, who wore his customary orange colors for the last day of a tournament, was paired with Kaymer in the final pairing on Sunday, a learning experience which he fully embraced.

"I felt really comfortable, which is a very good thing," said the 25-year-old Californian. "I only played a handful of final groups and this is my first one in a major.

"The more experience you can get in the final groups, and especially in majors and being in contention at majors, it definitely helps out for down the road."   Continued...

Rickie Fowler hits from a sand trap on the ninth hole during the final round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina, June 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar