PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12: Rickie Fowler of the United States waves after putting on the 11th hole during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler is playing the best golf of his short career, which he was able to prove once again on Saturday's third round at The Players Championship.
At the beginning of his third round at the 2012 Players Championship, Rickie Fowler was faced with an option: show everyone that his first-career PGA TOUR tournament win last week wasn't a fluke, or do the exact opposite. By the completion of his third round, Fowler quite simply chose to express the former.
Fowler fired an impressive 6-under round of 66 to vault himself into a tie for second place at 9-under par overall. Matt Kuchar is the current leader at 11-under while Kevin Na joins Fowler in second.
Fowler's round was good enough to give him a flash of the tournament lead for a while before Kuchar went on a tear of his own to pull ahead. Fowler's victory last week at the Wells Fargo Championship left many golf fans wondering if he could continue his hot playing streak throughout the remainder of the season, especially in tournaments with the toughest fields on tour.
"Winning last week gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week at The Players. This was the first time I made the cut here in three starts, and going out today I felt really good about the game and was able to get things going," Fowler told reporters following his round. "I was able to put up a good round and am really excited about tomorrow."
The flatstick was undoubtedly Fowler's strongest attribute today during his round, with which he made multiple long-distance putts to save pars and convert birdies throughout the round.
Depending on how Saturday ends, Fowler is likely to be paired with Kuchar tomorrow for the final pairing in the Championship's final round.
"I feel like I'm one of the [players] under the least amount of pressure here. Not too many people expect a player to win back-to-back, but I'm playing really well right now and look forward to tomorrow."