PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Given Rickie Fowler’s elevated profile, you would think he had won more than three tournaments in 178 PGA Tour starts. But the fact is, his résumé falls slightly short of his celebrity. Fowler has not won since 2015, when he won twice.
Fowler, who shot his second consecutive 66 in Friday’s Honda Classic second round at PGA National is one shot out of the lead held by Ryan Palmer and Wesley Bryan, at 9-under.
“I feel like it’s time for me to start finishing off some more events when I am in this position,’’ Fowler said. “I wouldn’t look just back at this specific event, but there’s been a few where I’ve had a chance. I feel very good out front or around the guys in the lead. I’m looking forward to this weekend. This is a place, a golf course I feel comfortable and I’m comfortable with the game right now. Yeah, it’s going to be a fun weekend.’’
A year ago at the Honda Classic, Fowler shot a pair of 66s for 8-under and held the halfway-point lead through 36 holes. But a 74-71 weekend performance left him tied for sixth.
This time, Fowler said he got some good work in with his coach, Butch Harmon, last week.
“I got to go play with Butch last Friday [and] it’s kind of just been trending the right direction,’’ he said. “I feel really good with how [I’ve] played the first two days and mentally I can definitely get a bit better.
“I like where the game’s at, where it’s heading. There’s still some better golf out there for the weekend. It’s going to be fun this weekend.’’
This is an emotional week for Ryan Palmer, who’s tied for the lead at 9-under through 36 holes after seven birdies led to a 65 on Friday.
Palmer returned from a four-month break and missed the cut in his first four events. The long break was to be at home with his wife, Jennifer, who is recovering from Stage 2 breast cancer.
She was diagnosed in July while he was at the Canadian Open and she had surgery about five weeks later. Palmer’s season ended in September, and he spent the rest of the year helping her cope with chemotherapy at home with their two children.
“There were times when she said I should have gone and played,’’ he said.
Palmer reached out to Stewart Cink, whose wife Lisa is battling breast cancer. And the week after he learned his wife had breast cancer, he sought out Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship (Mickelson’s wife Amy was diagnosed in 2009). Mickelson helped Palmer find the best doctors.
“He went right to work and made phone calls for me,” Palmer said. “I can’t thank him enough for what he did. It’s been a long ride.”
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