By: Chris Richards, AJGA Communications
After his first 18 holes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Rickie Fowler has proven that he still has good memories from his AJGA experiences at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
An opening-round 69 has given Rickie the clubhouse lead, which is exactly where he finished the last time he competed at Bay Hill as a junior. In 2006, he closed with rounds of 66-67 and finished at 10-under-par, giving him a four-shot victory at the HP Boys Championship.
Said Rickie following his win five years ago: “Knowing the PGA TOUR plays here, you really can't ask for more."
Well, Rickie, start asking for more.
The AJGA played Bay Hill as a 7,189-yard par 72, and Rickie posted a 70.75 scoring average in eight rounds (he shot even-par 288 during his T7 performance at the 2005 HP Boys Championship). Though he and the course have had five years to mature, Rickie is attacking Bay Hill just like he did as a junior.
During his AJGA career, he was a combined 10-under-par on Nos. 4-6. That trend continued Thursday, as he birdied Nos. 5 and 6 en route to his 3-under-par round. Rickie also amassed an under-par scoring average on Nos. 7, 11, 12, 13 and 16. On the other end of the spectrum, the par-4 third hole was most difficult for Rickie as a junior, as he was 3-over-par during his eight rounds in 2005 and 2006.
In 2006, Rickie bested a field that included Peter Uihlein, Kyle Stanley and Bud Cauley. Now competing against a field that features 15 Major champions, Rickie continues to add to his collection of memories at Bay Hill.
Rickie Fowler’s scorecards from 2005 (top) and 2006.