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    Fowler faces uphill chase on long day of US Open qualifying

    COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) – Already facing a long day, Rickie Fowler found the road even tougher on Monday in 36-hole qualifying as he tried to avoid missing the United States (US) Open for the first time in 11 years.

    Fowler was among 685 players seeking 54 spots in nine qualifiers across eight states to fill the field for the US Open, which starts on June 17 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

    He played his opening round at Brookside in one-over 73, which was halted for three hours because of heavy rain and thunder, meaning he likely would need at least a 65 at The Lakes to have any chance.

    Fowler wasn’t going down without a fight. He was four under for his round – three under for the qualifier – through 13 holes when it was too dark to continue because of the rain delay.

    Fowler probably needed at least three birdies over his last five holes to keep his hopes alive for returning to the US Open.

    Fowler is coming off a tie for eighth in the PGA Championship and a tie for 11th at the Memorial, his best two results of the year.

    Rickie Fowler watches his putt on the first hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament. PHOTO: AP

    He already has missed the Masters from falling well outside the top 50 in the world.

    Chez Reavie was assured of getting through after rounds of 65-67.

    Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was on the bubble, needing at least two birdies over his last five holes. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel made a big surge, six under through 14 holes on his round at the tougher Brookside course and in reasonable shape to get one of the 16 spots in Columbus.

    Former PGA champions Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner each shot 72 at Brookside and finished at five-under 131. That was tied for 16th, though likely to leave them out.

    The delay caused other problems. The first round didn’t end until close to rush hour, and the courses are 13 miles apart. Fowler had to deal with traffic, leaving him time to park, grab a hot dog, hit a few putts and head back out.

    Henry Lee of Canada was the last player to tee off. He had a half-eaten hamburger resting on his golf clubs as he teed off at 5.45pm.

    Ohio had another qualifier an hour away in Springfield, which had no such weather delays. Carson Schaake finished at nine-under par to lead the seven players who advanced to Torrey Pines. Schaake also was medalist at his local qualifying and will be making his Open debut.

    Branden Grace went from a fourth-place finish at the Memorial to an early start in Jupiter, Florida, and he parred the final hole at The Bear’s Club to earn one of six spots available. Grace chose to play in Florida because it’s his home course. Patrick Rodgers led all qualifiers in Florida.

    Also getting through was Luis Gagne, who shared low amateur honours in the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

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