Fowler sits 3rd at Masters: 'Right where I'm supposed to be'

Rickie Fowler reacts after a birdie on the 15th hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Rickie Fowler feels mentally and physically ready to become a Masters champion

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Rickie Fowler can't think of a much better position to be in at the Masters — or a better time to try to win his first major championship.

Fowler was part of a four-way tie for the lead when the third round started Saturday. He shot a steady 1-under 71 to remain in striking distance, a stroke behind co-leaders Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.

"It's going to be fun," Fowler said of Sunday's final round. "I'm looking forward to it. This is by far the best I've felt in a major."

The 28-year-old has had some big moments in golf, winning prestigious tournaments like the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship and The Players Championship and Deutsche Bank Championship in 2015. He's had his chances in the four majors, too, particularly in 2014 when he was among the top five at all four majors, including a tie for fifth behind winner Bubba Watson at Augusta National.

This week, Fowler feels even more ready to take that elusive step of becoming a major champion.

A smiling Fowler said he is in a good place physically and mentally not only about his golf game, but about life in general.

"I feel great on the golf course," he said. "It feels like I'm right where I'm supposed to be."

Fowler spent his time in the next-to-last group hitting fairways and greens. He made birdies on the 13th hole — his third of the tournament on the par 5 — and 15th to inch within a shot of the top. He closed with difficult, par-saving 7 footers on the 17th and 18th holes.

Fowler knows he faces a daunting leaderboard Sunday, from Rose and Garcia ahead of him, to 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who is in a three-way tie for fourth behind him, to 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott, who is seventh at 3 under.

He believes it will be a thinking-man's game Sunday, particularly on the back nine.

"I think it's going to be tough for someone to really run and distance themselves too much, with the possibilities of what you can do on the back nine," he said.

Fowler believes he has prepared every part of his game for this moment. He's worked with teachers Butch and Claude Harmon, trained regularly to stay in shape and concentrated on making the right dietary choices to stay healthy. The end goal is to play championship golf, something he thinks he'll do on Sunday.

"We've put a lot of work in," Fowler said, "and it's nice to see it pay off."

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More AP golf: apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf

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