AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler came closer than ever to major championship glory at the U.S. Masters on Sunday and now the American, instilled with a newfound belief that his day will come, cannot wait for his next shot.
The four-times winner on the PGA Tour has now finished in a share of fifth place or better in eight majors — with three of those second-place finishes — though never before had he been as close to the eventual winner as he was on Sunday.
At the 2014 U.S. Open, runnerup Fowler finished eight strokes behind winner Martin Kaymer and he was just two shots off champion Rory McIlroy when finishing tied for second at the British Open that year.
Fowler said his runner-up finish to Masters champion Patrick Reed helped him realize something he never truly believed before, that he is good enough to win one of golf’s four blue riband events.
“I am ready to go win a major, but this was kind of the first major week that I understood that and known that and felt that, said Fowler.
The 29-year-old American began the day five shots back of overnight leader Reed and used a sparkling back nine to close out the year’s first major with five-under-par 67 that brought him to 14 under for the week.
After his birdie at the last, Fowler was left waiting in the wings to see if friend and Ryder Cup teammate Reed would be able to protect his one-stroke lead.
“Yeah, it’s going to hurt, but I try and look at the things ‑‑ kind of more the glass half‑full,” the world number eight told reporters.
“Obviously I want to be the one standing on top after the four rounds, but this is ‑‑ if anything, it’s a step forward and makes me feel better about going forward into our next major, the U.S. Open.
“It’s going to be fun. I feel like this is a year to knock off our first.”
Fowler’s next shot at collecting a major will be at June’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in New York. From there it will be the British Open at Carnoustie in July and the Aug. 16-19 PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis.
“So I’m really looking forward to this year and the three majors that are left,” said Fowler.
“You know, Shinnecock is one of my favorite golf courses in the U.S. Obviously this place, and I haven’t been to the other two. But should be a very good major season.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford