U.S. Open 2018: Rickie Fowler feels like putter holding him back this week

Rickie Fowler desperately wants to shed his label as one of the best players without a major championship, and he’s in contention to do so this week at the U.S. Open.

After surviving the brutal first round Thursday at Shinnecock Hills with a 3-over 73, he moved up the leaderboard Friday with a 1-under 69. Fowler finished Round 2 with four birdies and three bogeys to enter the weekend in the top 10.

“Felt really good out there today. Obviously, coming off of the finish we had at the Masters, the way we played there, especially on the weekend, I’m looking forward to it,” Fowler, who finished second at Augusta, said after his round. “Definitely very comfortable on this golf course. I love playing here. I feel like it suits my game, it fits my eye. I have fun with it. You get to hit different shots out here.

“I’m kind of hoping that the wind picks up a little bit. It was nice that we got it kind of calm this afternoon, but I’d like to see this place dry out a little bit and start separating the field a little bit more. At least making it a little bit more, you know, where you have to hit the proper shots on the greens. They’re still a little receptive right now.”

Fowler hit 13 out of 14 fairways Friday, proving driving accuracy still matters at the U.S. Open. But he struggled on the greens, missing a number of good birdie looks.

With Dustin Johnson leading the way as the only player under par, Fowler knows it will be tough to catch the world’s top-ranked player. But he’s confident it can be done as long as he starts making some putts.

“It is going to be tough (catching Johnson), but I definitely feel like the way I’ve played the last two days, tee-to-green, I should be with him right now. I just haven’t made anything,” Fowler said.

“Typically, I’m a good putter. I believe I’m a good putter. And so I will get some to go this weekend. He will be tough to catch, but I have given myself a lot of opportunities out there, especially today. And we should have been a bit closer, but we’ll — there’s a lot of golf to be played. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”