Rickie Fowler in prime position after three rounds at Erin Hills

By Pat Neumuth - Freeman Staff

June 17, 2017

Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif. watches his approach shot on hole No. 8 Saturday afternoon during the third round of the U.S. open golf tournament at Erin Hills in the town of Erin.
John Ehlke/Daily News
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TOWN OF ERIN -- Rickie Fowler is right where he wants to be after three rounds at the 117th U.S. Open Championship on Saturday at Erin Hills.

In contention.

The one some consider is the best player to not win a major, however, is still looking up at a few players. All he needs is a final round like his roommate's third round and that tag of the best without a major might be lifted.

Fowler shot a 4-under-par 68 and is in fifth place at 10-under for the tournament. He is two shots back of Brian Harman, who is 12-under for the tournament after a 5-under third round.

After his round, Fowler said he will go back to his rented house he shares with Justin Thomas to talk about Thomas' record-setting 9-under 63 he posted Saturday.

"Nine (under) is pretty good and I wasn't exactly seeing that," Fowler said about Thomas' round. "I'm looking forward to hearing more about that one when I get back to the house because JT and I are staying together.

"That was cool to see. Definitely inspiring in a way to see him have a good start and motivating to get myself to get out and play well. Seeing him get the eagle on the last was pretty cool. A special round for him."

Fowler didn't go into specifics on what the two were going to do Saturday night but other than to, "have a good time."

"We are eating well. We will sit back and relax," Fowler said. "No, not too many elbows. We are separated by a floor, so he's upstairs and I'm downstairs in the basement area. It shouldn't get too physical."

Fowler was solid on the front-nine with three birdies. He had a bogey on No. 8, but that was sandwiched between birdies on No. 7 and No. 9. Fowler needed an up-and-down just to bogey the par-3 13th, but he felt that catapulted him to three straight birdies on No. 14, 15 and 16.

"Yeah, it was a good day," Fowler said. "I got out of position on a few holes, eight and 13, but other than that, I thought we managed ourselves around well. I felt I hit good shots and had a good feel of the speed of the greens today.

"I knew going into the day with the rain we had last night and seeing the course was going to play similarly to what we had Thursday morning when we went out," Fowler said about the back-nine. "If you played well and executed, that birdies were out there."

The top of the leaderboard are all players seeking their first major just like Fowler. Harman, Thomas, along with Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood -- who are also tied for second with Thomas at 11-under -- and Fowler in fifth, the top 16 players have not won a major. Sergio Garica, the 2017 Masters champ, and Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champ, are the top players with a major championship at 4-under, which is tied for 17th.

"It's going to be a really cool day for someone tomorrow," Fowler said. "I'm looking forward to my shot at it. It's not going to be an easy day, that's for sure. I've been there a handful of times and have had some good finishes.

"Looking at the leaderboard, there's a lot of young guys, a lot of great players. So someone will look at getting their first major tomorrow. I'll take (9-under) and sit in the clubhouse and see where that puts me."