Fowler faces uphill chase on long day of US Open qualifying

Rickie Fowler watches his putt on the first hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament, Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Rickie Fowler watches his putt on the first hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament, Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Already facing a long day, Rickie Fowler found the road even tougher Monday in 36-hole qualifying as he tried to avoid missing the U.S. Open for the first time in 11 years.

Fowler was among 685 players seeking 54 spots in nine qualifiers across eight states to fill the field for the U.S. Open, which starts June 17 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

He played his opening round at Brookside in 1-over 73, which was halted for three hours because of heavy rain and thunder, meaning he likely would need at least a 65 at The Lakes to have any chance.

Fowler wasn't going down without a fight. He was 4 under for his round — 3 under for the qualifier — through 13 holes when it was too dark to continue because of the rain delay.

As if the longest day wasn't long enough, Fowler and several others had to return Tuesday morning. Fowler probably needed at least three birdies over his last five holes to keep his hopes alive for returning to the U.S. Open.

Fowler is coming off a tie for eighth in the PGA Championship and a tie for 11th at the Memorial, his best two results of the year. He already has missed the Masters from falling well outside the top 50 in the world.

Chez Reavie was assured of getting through after rounds of 65-67.

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was on the bubble, needing at least two birdies over his last five holes. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel made a big surge, 6 under through 14 holes on his round at the tougher Brookside course and in reasonable shape to get one of the 16 spots in Columbus.