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Fowler shines at WGC championship

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Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler

The publicity posters plastered all over Shanghai for the WGC-HSBC Champions portray Rickie Fowler as a superhero “Eagle Eye”, and the US Ryder Cup star lived up to his billing yesterday.

Sporting a new mohawk haircut under his trademark broad-peaked cap, the 27-year-old US Ryder Cup star proved a cut above all but one player as he fired a blemish-free seven-under-par 65 to lie one shot off the lead at Sheshan International Golf Club.

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg leads on eight-under after a damp first round of the $9.5 million event dubbed “Asia’s Major”, where Rory McIlroy’s putter proved as cool as the conditions.

The FedEx Cup champion and world No 3 carded a steady one-under 71 with just two birdies and a solitary bogey.

“I feel I hit the ball well,” said McIlroy, who was solid from tee to green but just could not hole a putt of any length.

“Greens are soft and obviously there’s a lot of footprints. I feel I did everything okay. I just didn’t really get any momentum going,” he added.

McIlroy wasn’t alone among the favourites to struggle. World No 2 and US Open champion Dustin Johnson toiled to a two-over 74, as did Masters champion Danny Willett. US PGA Champion Jimmy Walker had a day to forget with a six-over 78.

There were no such woes for the well-travelled Fowler, whose last tournament win came in Abu Dhabi in January and who has also recorded victories in South Korea and Scotland.

Having started on the 10th, the colourful American was three-under when he left himself short of the green at the treacherous par-three 17th.

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