US Open: Rickie Fowler breaks tournament round record, matched by Xander Schauffele inside 30 minutes

Twenty-two minutes. That’s how long Rickie Fowler held solo claim of a record 128 years in the making.

Having just carded the lowest round score in US Open history, the American barely made it back to the Los Angeles Country Club clubhouse before compatriot Xander Schauffele shot an eight-under 62 of his own to match the feat.

Six golfers had shot 63 across the 122 previous editions of the major, first staged in 1895, yet the duo went one better with a pair of scintillating performances during the opening round on Thursday.

It marks just the third 62 in men’s major championship history, leveling South African Branden Grace’s record-breaking effort during the third round of the Open Championship in 2017.

Having started from the 10th hole, Fowler shot 10 birdies – including four in a row – and two bogeys. A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, the 34-year-old is chasing his first major title after runner-up finishes in three of the four flagship events.

The US Open is the only major in which he hasn’t finished second, with a tied-third outing in 2014 his best finish at the tournament. Having peaked at world No. 4 in 2016, Fowler arrived in California ranked 45th, but seven top-20 finishes in his last eight starts have indicated a return to his best form.

“It was a great day,” Fowler told reporters.

“Got off to a nice start making three on 10 and just never really thought about a score or necessarily what I was trying to do out there.

“The first few days this week I wasn’t feeling very comfortable swinging and wasn’t making many putts or hitting very good putts, so continued to get work in on the course as well as in the practice area, and finally a couple things clicked a bit yesterday. Then it was more just go out, trust it, and let things happen.

“I knew there was birdies to be made out here, but you have to drive it well and get the ball in position first. Yeah, did that, and from there just managed our way around really well.”

‘Do this again tomorrow?’

Similarly in pursuit of a first major crown, Schauffele handed in a bogey-free scorecard, accelerating home with five birdies across his last nine holes.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner was a few feet away from taking the record outright as his 25-foot birdie opportunity at the final hole came up short, forcing him to settle for a share of the feat.

“It’s a great start,” Schauffele told Sky Sports. “I hit a lot of really good shots. Rickie was just right in front of me and I was playing really good golf so thought I may as well just chase him down.

“You have to play hard here, dig your way around. You take your medicine when you can and then capitalise on good shots.”

And Schauffele, who tweeted Fowler asking if he was ready to “do this again” in Friday’s second round, was full of praise for his fellow record-breaker.

Do this again tomorrow @RickieFowler ?

— Xander Schauffele (@XSchauffele) June 15, 2023

“He’s truly probably one of the nicest guys out here,” he told reporters.

“I mean that when I say it. And I couldn’t be happier for him to see him in good form … he’s just a pleasure to be around.

“It’s not surprising to see him shoot 8-under, either. I’m happy that he’s able get back into good form and can compete at a high level.”

Fowler is schedule to tee off for Friday’s second round at 1:32 p.m. PST, with Schauffele again set to start shortly after at 1:54 p.m.

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