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Irish Open 2015: Rickie Fowler glad to return to the scene of past success

By Peter Hutcheon

Published 26/05/2015

All smiles: Rickie Fowler has fond memories of the course
All smiles: Rickie Fowler has fond memories of the course

Rickie Fowler has nothing but great memories of Royal County Down.

And the American said he felt right at home back at the scene of his 2007 Walker Cup triumph.

"It's just hard to believe it was eight years ago," he said during his practice round at the course yesterday.

"This is one of my favourite courses in the world.

"It's great to be back here again and I'm really looking forward to this week."

Fowler, who won the unofficial fifth Major - The Players Championship - a couple of weeks ago, looked in relaxed form as he reacquainted himself with the links layout.

"The course is great and it's going to be a good test," he added.

"If you're on top of your game you can go out and have fun, but it can take you apart if you are not playing well.

"It's nice to be out in short sleeves and it'll be nice if it stays dry this week."

Fowler's Players win was the highlight of his career so far, not least because of the manner in which it came with his birdie blitz over the closing holes and play-off, particularly at Sawgrass' notorious 17th island green.

It was his first win since 2012 and took him back into the top 10 in the world rankings. He had slipped outside the world's top 50 last year.

The victory was the perfect response from Fowler who, along with Ian Poulter, had topped an unofficial players' poll as the most over-rated competitor on the PGA Tour just a couple of weeks earlier.

"I think if there's a time where I need something to give me a kick in the butt I can think of that and it will put me in the right frame of mind to take care of business," he said just after his Sawgrass win, which is only his second as a professional.

"I was always looked at as having only one win on tour and I always felt that I needed to put myself in position to win more often and I did that last year.

"I wasn't able to end up as the last man standing and it feels good now to be back in that position."

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