Rickie Fowler chasing the leader -- again

July, 19, 2014

HOYLAKE, England -- For the second straight major, Rickie Fowler will play in the final group Sunday. Unfortunately for Fowler, for the second straight major, he has considerable ground to make up.

Last month at Pinehurst, it was Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open who ran away to an eight-shot victory, with Fowler settling for a tie for second. This time he'll be trying to chase down Rory McIlroy, who has a six-shot advantage.

If nothing else, Fowler is gaining experience. He is the only player to have top-five finishes at each of the first two majors.

"If I'm able to go out and get off to a good start, maybe I can put a little bit of pressure on him, because he's definitely in control of the golf tournament right now," Fowler said.

Fowler, 25, whose lone PGA Tour victory came in a playoff over McIlroy (and D.A. Points) at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, was tied with McIlroy on Saturday with six holes to play.

But Fowler played them in 2 over while McIlroy went 4 under, including eagles at the 16th and 18th holes.

Fowler and McIlroy's history goes back to 2007, when both were amateurs playing in the Walker Cup in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down, a competition won by the United States.

"In '07 you're really never sure about what's going to happen in the future," Fowler said. "He was definitely the young star over here. And I was one of the young stars from the U.S.

"But the past couple of years, seeing what he's been doing, obviously he has two majors already. He's a bit out in front of me right now. It was just a matter of time the two of us found a way to sneak into a final group together."

Bob Harig | email

ESPN Senior Writer