EARLY FORM: American golfer Rickie Fowler leads the field at the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast which started yesterday.
EARLY FORM: American golfer Rickie Fowler leads the field at the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast which started yesterday. AAP IMAGES

Tour's return to Royal Pines gives Fowler fresh shot

THE last time Rickie Fowler played in the Australian PGA Championship, he finished tied for 14th on six-under, six shots behind the leaders, Greg Chalmers, Robert Allenby and Marcus Fraser.

That was in 2011 when the event was still at Coolum, before new owner Clive Palmer decided he would rather use dinosaurs than some of the world's best golfers to promote the resort.

With the tournament now at the revamped Royal Pines layout on the Gold Coast, Fowler is back for another shot and staked his claim with an opening round of eight-under par 63 yesterday.

The 24-year-old, the second-highest ranked player in the world (43) in the event behind the Gold Coast's own Adam Scott (two), shot six birdies on a sizzling back nine to lead by two shots from Scott, who birdied the 18th to finish in a three-way tie for second with fellow Aussies Matthew Ballard and David McKenzie.

"I'll take 8-under every day," Fowler said.

"You never know what you're going to get ... if I can get myself into a position where I have a chance come Sunday then that's where I want to be."



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