US Open and The Open Championship runner-up Rickie Fowler, seeking a breakthrough first major title at the PGA Championship, is confident he will be in the hunt again on Sunday at Valhalla.
The 25-year-old American, who also shared fifth at the Masters, is paired with four-time major winner Ernie Els and France’s Victor Dubuisson for the first two rounds of the year’s final major tournament after two near misses.
Yesterday he said: “This year has definitely been the most comfortable I’ve felt in the majors. But I think the more I can put myself in contention on Sunday, and possibly in the final group, I’ll just get more and more comfortable.
“Being comfortable means more confidence and we’ll keep knocking at the door. I don’t think there’s a specific time frame or anything like that. I’m not going to push it. But I’ll be out there giving it my all.”
Fowler, ranked 18th, finished one-under par at formidable Pinehurst in June only to share second with countryman Erik Compton, eight strokes adrift of Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
Last month at Royal Liverpool, Fowler began the final round six strokes off the pace of last-pairings partner Rory McIlroy and matched Spain’s Sergio Garcia for second on 15-under, two behind the three-time major winner.
“If I keep putting myself in the final group, it’s just a matter of time,” Fowler said. “I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable in that position. You may have to get lucky at times, but playing well on Sunday is key.”
Fowler has a building rivalry with world No1 McIlroy, having beaten him in a playoff to win his first PGA title in 2012 at Quail Hollow and by six shots in the 2011 Korea Open for his first pro title.
He added: “I look forward to going head-to-head with him quite a bit more. This week is definitely a possibility. He’s obviously on top of his game. I feel like he’s driving it some of the best I’ve ever seen.
“If he keeps doing that, he’ll be tough to beat, and it would be fun to go up against him on Sunday. Like I said at The Open Championship a couple weeks ago, it won’t be the last time him and I are in the final group and going at it on Sunday.”
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