AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Rickie Fowler's latest pursuit of a major championship got off to a rocky start.
Fowler opened the Masters with an 8-over 80 on Thursday as he tries to shed that label of best player without a major title. He recovered from an opening double bogey with three birdies in four holes.
The rest of his round wasn't as pretty on a windy, sometimes exasperating day at Augusta National: one more double bogey, a triple on No. 13 and four plain ol' bogeys. Fowler had a simple explanation on what happened.
"Golf. Golf happened," Fowler said. "It's a crazy four-letter word."
It was two shots worse than his previous high round at the Masters.
Things really went awry on No. 13.
Fowler's drive went right, into the trees. Then he had to take a drop after his third shot landed in the creek and then he overshot the green, chipping it 17 feet past the hole and two-putting for an 8.
"Thirteen was tough," he said. "I tried playing it out to the right, couldn't get people moved so I just pretty much had to play it and had a pretty bad lie out there with it being wet and matted down."
He hit another shot into the trees on 14 and into the water two holes later for his second double bogey. Fowler has made a habit of getting off to slow starts at majors lately.
Fowler started the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay with an 81 last year and missed the cut. Now, he's gone five straight majors where he hasn't broken par in the first round.
All is not lost for Fowler. Curtis Strange also opened with an 80 in 1985. By Sunday he was in the lead on the back nine until he hit shots into the water on both par 5s and tied for second.
Fowler's hoping for a similar turnaround.
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