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Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele BOTH tie lowest round in men’s major championship history

The Americans broke a 50-year US Open scoring record – and tied Branden Grace’s history-making men’s round at Royal Birkdale – with some heroics at Los Angeles Country Club

 

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele both tied the lowest round in men’s major history – and broke a US Open record that had stood for half a century – after stunning opening 62s at Los Angeles Country Club.

The pair posted their incredible numbers just 20 minutes apart on an amazing first day in the City of Angels.

Fowler made 10 birdies, and posted just two bogeys, while Schauffele had a bogeyless round and eight birdies of his own, as they beat the 63 first posted by Johnny Miller at Oakmont in 1973 and matched Branden Grace’s previously peerless round at Royal Birkdale in the 2017 Open.

Fowler, who had dipped to 173 in the world rankings a year ago, has battled his way back from the golfing wilderness over the past few months – recording six top 10s and a runner-up finish on the PGA Tour this season.

But even he could not have anticipated writing his name into the golf history books as he began his quest for a debut major title in California.

Starting with a birdie on the 10th, but giving it straight back on the 11th, Fowler again picked up a shot on 12 before also making birdie on the 14th.

More came on 16 and 18, with a bogey sandwiched in between, but the 34-year-old caught fire on the front nine (his back 9) – picking up shots at the opening three holes.

Two more arrived at the 6th and 8th and he arrived at the par 3 9th green with a long birdie attempt for a 61. But it died just left of the hole before he tidied up for par and joined the scoring legends.

Amazingly, Fowler said he wasn’t swinging well coming into the week. “It was a great day. Got off to a nice start making 3 on 10 and just never really thought about a score or necessarily what I was trying to do out there.

“The first few days this week I wasn’t feeling very comfortable swinging and wasn’t making many putts or hitting very good putts, so continue to get work in on the course as well as in the practice area, and finally a couple things clicked a bit yesterday. Then it was more just go out, trust it, and let things happen.

“I knew there was birdies to be made out here, but you have to drive it well and get the ball in position first. Yeah, did that, and from there just managed our way around really well.”

“I wasn’t exactly [aware that the record was at stake],” he also told Sky Sports. “I wasn’t exactly sure what the number was and I really didn’t see a scoreboard on my back nine.”

Rickie Fowler

Miller, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf (at Baltrusol in 1980), Helen Alfredsson (1994 US Women’s Open at Indianwood), Vijay Singh (at Inverness in 2003), Justin Thomas (at Erin Hills in 2017), and Tommy Fleetwood (at Shinnecock Hills in 2018), had all completed a US Open round in 63 blows until Fowler and then Schauffele’s quick-following heroics.

Schauffele, also starting on the 10th, picked up a birdie at his opening hole as well as the 12th and 14th, before sweeping round his back nine in an incredible 30 – putting circles on the scorecard at the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th.

The 29-year-old’s remarkable US Open performances includes five consecutive top 10s and another top 20 in just six appearances and he looks in great shape as he bids to win his maiden major title.

Schauffele told Sky Sports: “It’s a great start. I hit a lot of good shots and Rickie was just right in front of me. I saw him march up the leaderboard and I was playing really good golf, so I figured, ‘I might as well just chase him’.”

Later asked if it had any significance for him to hold a record round, he added: “I mean, I don’t know. It’s just Thursday. It’s literally just the first day of a tournament. It’s a good start.”

The two record rounds marked a day of low scoring with 37 players under par and the top six all at five under or better.

Former US Open champion Dustin Johnson carded a 6-under 64, which tied Tiger Woods’ record for the most rounds of 65 or better in major history.

Rory McIlroy also got off to a blistering start, making five birdies in his opening nine holes as it looked like another 62 could be firmly in his sights.

The Northern Irishman went on to shoot 65 after bogeying his final hole. McIlroy was faced with a tricky greenside chip in thick rough, which he sliced under and moved the ball about an inch.

Nonetheless, he remains firmly in the hunt for his long-awaited fifth major title.

What did you think of Rickie Fowler’s and Xander Schauffele’s record rounds? Let us know with a tweet.

rickie fowler major record

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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