mcloudy.png
Thursday December 8th, 2022 2:57PM

Fowler begins with new caddie, coach and early 67 in Napa

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler began his 15th professional season Thursday. From clubs to coach to caddie, just about everything is new for the five-time PGA Tour winner.

Fowler, whose last victory was the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, enjoyed immediate success.

He shot a 5-under 67 and was among nine players who finished their rounds four shots behind leader Justin Lower at the Fortinet Championship.

Lower, beginning his second PGA Tour season, concluded his career-low, 9-under 63 in the early evening at Silverado Resort and Spa. He held a two-shot cushion over defending champion Max Homa and a three-shot lead over Byeong Hun An, S.H. Kim and J.J. Spaun at the fog-delayed PGA Tour season opener.

Lower, whose career-best finish in 28 PGA Tour starts dating to 2013 was a tie for eighth in July at the Barbasol Championship, had a bogey-free round.

“I’ll take it. I birdied half the holes, so that’s always a good start, I guess,” Lower said. “I’m honestly just happy to be in the position I am having I guess, full status.”

Homa, finishing just before play was called because of darkness, birdied two of the last three holes for his 65.

Fowler, who had a bogey-free round, has only four top-10 finishes in the past three seasons. He recently began using a new putter and this week is also using a new set of irons.

Once ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, Fowler is now 176th. With his new clubs, Fowler hopes to rekindle his career with the assistance of a new caddie and new coach.

On the bag is friend and veteran PGA Tour caddie Ricky Romano. Butch Harmon, who has worked with Fowler in the past, replaced John Tillery, who was Fowler’s swing coach for the past three years.

“Yeah, I always like it when there’s a bogey-free round in there,” Fowler said. “For the most part, there wasn’t an issue today other than having to make a 15-footer when I hit it into the bunker. Other than that, it was a fairly simple day.”

An, a three-time PGA Tour runner-up who regained his card via the Korn Ferry Tour, had seven birdies and one bogey en route to his 66.

Kim, a PGA Tour rookie, had eight birdies and two bogeys in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s new season — its final time using a wraparound schedule.

Two groups were on the course Thursday morning when play was suspended for 90 minutes because of fog. There were 35 players left on the course when darkness halted play at 7:20 p.m. PDT. Among those, Robby Shelton had the best round going at 5 under through 13 holes. The first round was to resume Friday morning.

Fowler missed the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in his career in 2021. He got into the first playoff event this past season, the FedEx St. Jude Championship in August, but did not advance.

“I’ve had some good weeks in the past few years, but it shouldn’t just be a few weeks in those years, there needs to be more,” Fowler said. “I’m just trying to get to be more consistent.”

Greyson Sigg, Nick Taylor, Sahith Theegala, Scott Harrington, Matti Schmid, Emiliano Grillo, Sung Kang and Brice Garnett all matched Fowler's 67. Grillo won the event in 2015 and had two runner-up finishes last season.

Fowler hadn’t played in the event since 2010 when it was played at CordeValle.

“Well, not going to the playoffs and not being on a Presidents Cup team, that’s been really the only reason I haven’t been to Napa yet,” Fowler said. “I’ve always heard good things about the event, so not to say thanks to bad play or anything, but that’s kind of the reason we’re able to be here this week.”

Fowler was pleased with his overall play, particularly off the tee.

“I set the round up by driving it fairly nicely, especially the second half of the day,” Fowler said. “And I was just able to keep moving forward. There weren’t many times where I had to play too defensively.”

Matt Kuchar, whose 2019 win at the Sony Open was the last of his nine PGA Tour titles, was among several players at 4 under.

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Sports - PGA
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden: Hate-fueled violence 'has no place in America'
President Joe Biden gathered educators, faith leaders and others who have experienced violence firsthand for a discussion Thursday on how stop the violence, and promised action
9:13PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Fowler begins with new caddie, coach and early 67 in Napa
Rickie Fowler shot a 5-under 67 and was one shot off the lead among the early starters at the fog-delayed Fortinet Championship in Napa, California
9:11PM ( 21 minutes ago )
London mourners brave 9-hour wait to say goodbye to queen
Thousands of mourners are waiting for up to nine hours in line to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state at Westminster Hall
9:04PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
DeChambeau: 'No buyer's remorse' about going from PGA to LIV
Bryson DeChambeau insists he has “no buyer's remorse” about jumping from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series
8:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
Rays start 9 Latin American position players, rout Jays 11-0
Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run and the Tampa Bay Rays — starting an unprecedented nine Latin American position players on Roberto Clemente Day — routed Toronto 11-0 on Thursday to pull within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase
7:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
Falcons' Damien Williams misses practice with sore rib
Atlanta Falcons running back Damien Williams was held out of practice for the second consecutive day with a rib injury
7:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
McIlroy shines at Italian Open on 2023 Ryder Cup course
Rory McIlroy’s first competitive round on next year’s Ryder Cup course was a success
1:58PM ( 7 hours ago )
McIlroy leads Italian Open on next year's Ryder Cup course
Rory McIlroy’s first competitive round on next year’s Ryder Cup course was a success
10:39AM ( 10 hours ago )
McIlroy, Europeans address Ryder Cup status for LIV players
For Rory McIlroy, it’s a flat-out “no_” U_S_ Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is open to having LIV Golf players on Europe’s team at next year’s Ryder Cup because he says “I just want to make sure that we win.”
11:23AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Golf
British sports hold day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II
British sport is holding a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II
6:04AM ( 6 days ago )
Immelman picks 5 rookies to fill out depleted PCup team
Trevor Immelman is using five of his six captain’s picks on Presidents Cup rookies
12:40PM ( 1 week ago )
Johnson makes eagle putt to win LIV Boston event in playoff
Dustin Johnson is finally a winner again for the first time in 19 months
8:02PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - PGA
London mourners brave 9-hour wait to say goodbye to queen
Thousands of mourners are waiting for up to nine hours in line to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state at Westminster Hall
9:04PM ( 29 minutes ago )
George Floyd biography among National Book Award nominees
A biography of the late George Floyd and poetry by Pulitzer Prize winner Sharon Olds were among the works included Thursday on long lists for the National Book Awards
8:45PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Veteran NY judge named as arbiter in Trump Mar-a-Lago probe
A federal judge has appointed a veteran New York jurist to serve as an independent arbiter and review records that were seized during an FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida home last month
8:39PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Rays start 9 Latin American players, rout Blue Jays 11-0
Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run and the Tampa Bay Rays — starting an unprecedented nine Latin American players on Roberto Clemente Day — routed Toronto 11-0 on Thursday to pull within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase
8:37PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Police in Haiti blame gang members for slaying of 3 officers
Haiti’s National Police says it is investigating the recent slaying of three officers that it blames on gang members
8:16PM ( 1 hour ago )