AUGUSTA, Ga. – For the briefest of moments early Saturday, it was a throwback to 2014 with Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt making productive runs. Fowler went out in 33 and birdied 10 and 11 to get to 3 under; Blixt, to the turn in 35, birdied 10, 12 and 13 to get to 6 under.
Just a year ago they were surprise names coming in behind the winner, Bubba Watson; Blixt was joint second, Fowler tied for fifth.
Any thought of pushing into such lofty heights through 54 holes this year, however, came to a screeching halt for both of them. Fowler sandwiched a bogey at the par-4 14th around letdown pars at the par-5 13th and par-5 15th, then finished with a thud: a double bogey at 18. With a round of 70 he is just 1 under and tied for 25th, making a fifth straight top-10 finish in a major unlikely.
Blixt’s steamroll was halted with a double bogey at the par-5 15th, though he settled down with a par, par, par finish and a round of 70. At 4 under, he has a piece of 12th. Though it’s not a position from which he figures to win, securing a top-12 spot would earn him an invite to next year’s Masters.
Though he’s further back, Fowler has designs on a Sunday charge.
“I’m going to need to put a good round together to have a chance to finish in the top 10,” Fowler said, “but it’s going to have to be really good one to get to the top 5.”