A second straight 67 Saturday on the Championship Course has given colorful Rickie Fowler a chance to match Tiger Woods in at least one category: a victory as an amateur and a professional at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
In his third year on the PGA TOUR, Fowler trails Woods by two strokes heading into today's final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard. Before Woods started reeling off victories in this event, he won the 1991 USGA Junior Amateur Championship here.
Fowler, meanwhile, gathered his amateur victory at Bay Hill in the 2006 HP Boys Championship, an American Junior Golf Association event. Though he finished tied for 50th and tied for 30th in his previous two starts in this tournament, Fowler believes his game is rounding into shape.
"I'm feeling good after these last two days," said Fowler, age 24, who has rallied from an opening 73 to post a nine-under 207 total. "First day played tough in the morning, it was a little cold and windy. But made a lot of good swings in the last two days, made some putts, so really looking forward to tomorrow.
"My game is in a really good spot," he added.
Fowler made six birdies Saturday against one bogey on the strength of the day's best work on Bay Hill's greens. He needed just 24 putts to offset hitting just 10 greens in regulation, and through 54 holes he ranks first in putting with just 76 strokes.
That performance is due, in part, to a more conservative approach.
"Yeah, I'm working on dropping the speed back a little bit. It's not fun having three- and four-footers coming back all the time," Fowler said. "You can catch a little more hole with it going by it about a foot. Working on possibly getting a little better speed and see if I can keep those putts down."
Winner last year at the Wells Fargo Championship, his first PGA TOUR title, Fowler started the year with a pair of top-10 finishes. In his last two starts he let good chances at victory get away. His confidence has not been damaged.
"Unfortunately," he said, "I didn't have the Sundays that I wanted to at Honda [Classic] or Doral [WGC-Cadillac Championship], but I'm feeling good about my game right now and looking forward to [today's] round."