The Scots love Rickie Fowler.
And that, basically, makes them like the rest of the golf fans around the world.
Heck, who doesn’t like Rickie Fowler?
What’s great about this week is that Rickie loves them back.
Scotland has been good to Rickie, especially there at Gullane, a wonderful place due west of Edinburgh where they’ve been thrashing around at anything resembling the small ball for some 350 years.
Rickie got into town on Monday and made his way just west from Gullane to North Berwick. He heard it was a cool course, probably read something about it here in DogLegNews.
Seriously, there was Rickie on the West Links of North Berwick, maneuvering his clubs about on a trolley (push cart), pretty much like the rest of us commoners. Just having fun.
Rickie got down to business Thursday, early morning back here in the states and started strong in this 2018 version of the Scottish Open. Of course he loves Gullane. He was the winner there in 2015.
Might be the winner again come Sunday.
Thursday was perfect for scoring — low scoring.
In Scotland the old saying: “Nay wind, nay rain, nay golf,” simply did not apply. It was overcast, mild, just a hint of wind and no rain with the exception of a few drops, not enough to dilute one’s single malt.
Gullane was open for scoring, as many birdies as you’d like, playing firm and fast — hit it as far as you dare.
Rickie didn’t waste any time getting in the thick of it. He rolled off three in a row starting at the short (523 yards) par five second.
After a par at five, Fowler drove it on the green at the 398-yard par four fifth, downhill — remember — firm and fast. The ball will roll as far as you want it to and Rickie’s stopped about 30 feet from the hole. A putt later and he had eagle on the card and shot 30 going out. He added two more birdies at 11 and 12 then picked up his only bogey of the round when he tangled with one of those infamous Scottish bunkers at the 13th. Note to anyone who travels to play golf in Scotland — stay out of the bunkers.
Fowler would finish with 64 and he drew a lot of approving applause from the crowds following him.
Afterward, Rickie sounded like he was ready for three more days of links golf.
“I love playing links golf and being able to use your imagination and hit different shots,” he said. “I feel like this golf course, you go around and you hit pretty much every club in your bag. You hit driver quite a bit. It’s just fun. Especially once the wind starts to blow a bit.”
Speaking of the wind, or lack thereof, it’s not supposed to show up until Sunday’s final round.
In the meantime, the green light for birdies was flashing clear.
Rickie had company at six-under including the hatless Robert Rock and 45-year-old Lee Westwood. From the “who are those guys” contingent, there was Jens Dantorp and Scott Fernandez. The 4 shooters were all just a shot off the 63 by big-hitter Luke List, thanks to a 30-footer by List for birdie at 15.
Masters champ Patrick Reed would have been in there with them had he not botched up the not-so-difficult par five 16th with bogey. Reed finished with 65.
Fowler looked so very comfortable out there. He looks to be in his element and you gotta love how he’s waiting for those winds to blow on Sunday.
In the meantime, Fowler enjoyed playing with no wind and no rain.
He found 64 more reasons to love the Scottish Open.