Quick turn: Fowler hones in on US Open qualifier

Sports

DUBLIN, Ohio — Rickie Fowler is starting to see signs that his game is coming around after a long slump. He hopes it carries over into a U.S. Open qualifier on Monday.

Fowler, 32, failed to finish high enough at the Memorial Tournament to earn a place in the June 17-20 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines via the Official World Golf Ranking.

So he will be one of among 120 players at a 36-hole final qualifying event at two nearby courses.

“It will be a long day,” Fowler said. “Hopefully we can dodge some rain and storms in the afternoon. Other than that, it’s just about moving forward. I did a pretty good job of that this week.

“Obviously I didn’t qualify off of points or world rankings for the U.S. Open, so got out tomorrow, have a chance to go qualify and get myself a spot, a tee time in a week and a half from now.”

Fowler shot a final-round 70 at Muirfield Village Golf Club to finish in a tie for 11th. He tied for eighth two weeks ago at the PGA Championship. Ranked 101st in the world, Fowler needed a minimum of a solo second at the Memorial to move into the top 60 in the world. Monday is the final cutoff for that exemption criteria.

The U.S. Open had 76 exempt players going into the weekend, with a little more than 60 expected to make it into the field at Torrey Pines through the nine qualifying spots around the country on Monday.

Fowler is scheduled to be joined by major championship winners Padraig Harrington, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley at the local sites here called Brookside Country Club and the Lakes Golf & Country Club. They are approximately 12 miles apart.

Fowler twice made the U.S. Open field through qualifying when he was in college Oklahoma State in 2008 and 2009. He failed to make the 2010 field in his first year as a pro but has since been in every U.S. Open.

The United States Golf Association will announce the number of qualifiers from each spot on Monday morning. Between 13 and 15 are expected to make it out of the Columbus qualifier. Fowler has an 8:20 a.m. tee time at Brookside and 2:10 at the Lakes.

“It’s nice to have some confidence again,” he said. “That was something that made the last year and a half even worse. I didn’t have the flat stick (putter) to save me. So everything started to come around. Definitely happy about the last few tournaments, just the start of it going forward.”

Branden Grace, Luke Donald and 2009 U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover are among the players competing at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida, with Ian Poulter and Brandt Snedker among several Tour pros playing at the qualifier in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

The other qualifying sites are in Rolling Hills Estates, California; Purchase, New York; Atlanta; Rockville, Maryland; Springfield, Ohio; and Richland, Washington.

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