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Saturday, 16 July 2011
Rickie Fowler   (Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler (Getty Images)

American Rickie Fowler hopes history will repeat itself tomorrow as he seeks to emulate Ben Curtis by making his first professional victory an Open title at Sandwich.

The 22-year-old carded an impressive 68 in wet and windy weather to move to two under and within striking distance of the leaders.

Fowler turned professional two years ago and has finished runner-up three times but has yet to register a win.

In that respect he shares a similarity with compatriot Curtis, who came to Royal St George's in 2003 as a complete unknown for his first major and surprisingly walked away with the Claret Jug.

This is already Fowler's seventh major - his best finish was joint 14th on his Open debut at St Andrews last year - and he would like nothing more to break his duck in the historic tournament.

"I'd love for my first win to be a major and I'd love for it to be here," said the California-born golfer, one of the rising stars of American golf.

"I'm playing every tournament to be in contention and give it a shot, so I'm in a perfect place going into tomorrow.

"I felt like I played really well today and it's going to give me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.

"I just need to make some putts and it's going to put me in a good spot.

"I've just got to make sure I keep having fun. I think that'll keep me for the most part kind of mellow and not getting too far ahead of myself.

"As long as I draw on some past experiences being in contention - I was in contention two weeks ago (at the AT&T National, where he shot a final-round 74) and I couldn't get any putts to fall.

"I felt really good where I was at in that position. Obviously this is a little bit bigger stage and a major but I'm ready to go out and have some fun and play well."

Fowler has crammed plenty of useful experience into his relatively short professional career, not least a tense final day at last year's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

The rookie looked dead and buried against Italy's Edoardo Molinari, another debutant, but somehow managed to claw back half a point, although it was ultimately in vain.

"That's probably one I'm going to draw on for the rest of my life," added Fowler, who has been compared to Europe's own new superstar Rory McIlroy, with whom he has played on the first three days, who he has outscored by six shots so far.

"Although it was only to halve a match I was four down with not very many holes to play and three down with three to play.

"How calm I felt there will definitely help me draw off that experience and hopefully go into tomorrow and be as calm as I was there."





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