Rickie relaxed over blistering Open start

Rickie Fowler (Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler (Getty Images)

Erin - Rickie Fowler is keeping his feet on the ground after a record-equalling start to the US Open saw him grab an early lead in the clubhouse on Thursday.

The laidback 28-year-old Californian took full advantage of benign conditions at the Erin Hills course in Wisconsin to shoot a superb seven-under-par 65.

The bogey-free round equalled the record for the lowest to par score in a US Open first round shared by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf since the the 1980 tournament.

But world number nine Fowler was staying focused on following up his stellar opening with a winning finish at the back end of the tournament.

"It's cool, but it's just the first round," Fowler said afterwards.

"It is always cool to be part of some sort of history in golf. But I'd rather be remembered for something that's done on Sunday."

Fowler, teeing off on the 10th, was quickly into his stride with back-to-back birdies on his second and third holes.

The 2014 US Open runner-up was then hunting another birdie on the par-five 14th, playing his third shot to 12 feet and duly draining the birdie.

The par-five 18th was the next victim, with Fowler easily making the green in two before two putting from 47 feet to move to four under.

It was the start of a run of three consecutive birdies for Fowler, who has enjoyed a solid start to 2017 which included an 11th place at the Masters.

A third shot to six feet set up a birdie on the daunting 600-yard par-five first.

On the second a sublime chip from the fairway left with him a three-footer to go to six under.

Four solid pars followed before a further birdie on the seventh, his 16th hole of the day, took him to seven under.

"The first thing is getting off to a good start Thursday, keeping that rolling and getting ourselves in contention Sunday," Fowler said.

"There's a lot of golf to be played. But, yeah, I'm ready to be out there. It's going to be a fun week. I like the way this course suits my game."

Fowler, one of the best putters in golf, believes improvements to his play off the green have given him added confidence.

"I feel like I'm better throughout my whole game," he said. "I used to not be a very good bunker player, and now I feel like I have a lot of confidence.

"Driving stats have gone up. Just hitting the fairways has made it a little easier and that's definitely something that makes a difference out here."

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