“There were a couple times last year where I tried to push it a little bit where if I stuck to my game plan I probably would’ve made more cuts,” said Fowler, who opened with a 3-under 69 Thursday that included three birdies, three bogeys (including two to close) and one eagle. “There were certain times where I didn’t have to push it on certain holes, just play boring golf, hit it in the fairway and knock it on the green instead of bringing bogey and double into play.” That patience was tested Thursday in an up-and-down for Fowler, who began his round with a birdie on No. 10 before adding another on No. 15 and an eagle on the 16th… Fowler is also coming off a victory at the Seminole Country Club Pro-member, where he teamed with Arnold Palmer and beat a field that included Lee Westwood, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Jhonny Vegas and Jack Nicklaus. “It definitely didn’t hurt [playing with Palmer],” said Fowler, who also won an AJGA event at Bay Hill as a teen. “I played really well with him. I wanted to impress him a little.” Fowler did just that, making seven birdies and an eagle that day. “I got a little smirk and a handshake at the end, so I was happy about that,” Fowler said.
Fowler sits tied for second after day 1, and the leader in Orlando is Spencer Levin. You may remember Levin as a the pack-a-day smoking amateur who finished 13th at that impossible 2004 U.S. Open a Shinnecock. Well now, he’s a matured 26-year-old that has a much more polished game. His 66 gives him a three shot lead headed into Friday. Other notable scores included Phil Mickelson (-2) and Tiger Woods (+1).