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Rickie Fowler shines early at 2024 Travelers Championship

Rickie Fowler shines early at 2024 Travelers Championship

CROMWELL, Conn. — Rickie Fowler is not freaking out. He’s not panicking, he’s not losing sleep and he’s not making radical changes to his golf game because 2024 has been a frustrating season. He’s been through worse and gotten through it.

After missing the cut in his last two starts — the Memorial Tournament and last week’s U.S. Open — Fowler arrived at TPC River Highlands and did exactly what he’s been doing all season. He worked.

Even with temperatures in the 90s and the air filled with mid-summer humidity, Fowler was in the practice area Wednesday. In fact, he was one of the last players to leave.

“I was here all day,” Fowler said on Thursday after signing his card for a 64 in the opening round of the Travelers Championship. It was his best first-round score of the season and only his second first-round score in the 60s this year.

Fowler made six birdies and no bogeys, even though he hit only six of the 14 fairways off the tee. His iron game was solid, hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation, but what transformed a good round into a great one was his putt. The 35-year-old from Murrieta, California, made a 25-footer on the seventh hole and a 38-footer on the 17th for birdies. When Fowler missed, he left himself numerous low-stress tap-ins for par.

“Making putts kind of frees up the rest of the game to where you don’t feel like you have to be perfect,” he said, eyeing the air-conditioned clubhouse. “I just kind of kept it fairly simple.”

Mired in a slump this season, keeping it simple might not be as easy as it sounds, even for someone who is still one of the most popular golfers on the PGA Tour.

Last summer, Fowler contended at the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club before eventually finishing tied for fifth. A week later, he tied for 13th here in Connecticut before finally breaking through to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Those results were reason for optimism heading into 2024, but in 15 events this season Fowler has missed five cuts and failed to notch a top-10 finish. His best showing has been a tie for 18th at the RPC Heritage, a week after the Masters.

But Rickie Fowler remains calm.

“I’m significantly closer this year from where I was a few years back,” Fowler said. “It’s just more of just a lot of disappointment, as far as…


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