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Fowler produces a sensational 68 to close within sight of the leaders

16 July 2011 16:09 BST

Rickie Fowler

America’s Rickie Fowler produced one of the finest rounds in recent Open history when he battled through a strong wind and driving rain to card a two under 68 and move within touching distance of the leaders during the third round of The Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

The 22 year-old from Anaheim, California, carded four birdies and just two bogeys in the company of US Open champion, Rory McIlroy, and will now go into the final round on two under par 208 and with a realistic chance to claiming his first victory since turning professional in 2009 after a stellar amateur career.

The charismatic Fowler used to be a champion dirt bike rider and he certainly had to battle to keep himself on track in conditions that saw most other competitors in his area of the draw balloon to scores in the high 70s and low 80s.

Fowler’s 68 was three shots better than the second best score recording in the worst of the weather by France’s Raphael Jacquelin and the only reason it might not be quite good enough is that as he was finishing the rain disappeared and the wind had started to drop.

We will have to wait and see just where he is positioned this evening but in the meantime can marvel at his superb control in the dismal weather conditions.

The American’s round began in inauspicious fashion with a bogey at the 417-yard par-4 second but he got back to par for the day with a birdie on the 419-yard par-4 fifth to reach the turn in level par 35. He dropped a second shot on the 243-yard par-3 11th but then closed the round with birdies 13th, 15th and 16th as the weather began to ease.

“I had quite a bit of fun out there,” he said once he reached the sanctuary of the media centre.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the best possible conditions, so we just had to battle through it. I felt awesome out there, to be honest. I hit a lot of good shots, a few bad ones, but overall I was very pleased.

“This morning, when I saw the weather, I would happily have settled for two or three over so to shoot 68 is a real bonus,” he added.

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