Rickie Fowler (13/2 – 3M Open Outright) admits the confidence he took from his strong Sunday at the Open Championship inspired him as he ended the opening day of the 3M Open in a share of the lead.

Fowler has struggled with his game in recent years, slipping to 128th in the rankings on the back of May’s missed cut at the Byron Nelson, but closed with a 65 at Royal St George’s and showed more of the same on Thursday.

Birdies at the first, second and sixth saw him reach the turn in 32 and he picked up four more shots on the way home to mirror that score and sign for a opening round 64.

Fowler’s tally gave him the early clubhouse lead and he was joined on seven-under by Troy Merritt (12/1 – 3M Open Outright) and Jhonattan Vegas (8/1), while Scott Stallings headlines a group of three players a shot back.

Louis Oosthuizen (14/1 – 3M Open Outright) carded a three-under 68 as he looks to regain his confidence following his mixed Sunday at the Open.

Meanwhile, world number two Dustin Johnson (22/1) is on one-under after starting the day without his brother Austin on the bag, his sibling having tested positive for Covid-19.

Fowler’s performance on Thursday was the talk of the town at TPC Twin Cities, with his improved driving and putting bringing him particularly pleasure.

Speaking to reporters in Minnesota, he admitted that his exploits last Sunday gave him the confidence to go and play with more freedom on Thursday in Minnesota.

“Coming off Sunday at The Open, there was a lot of good stuff there and I drove it a lot better,” he said. “That was something that was kind of holding me back from making birdies, moving forward last week.

“It was nice to see some putts go in on top of it because that’s been another part of the game that really hasn’t helped me a whole lot the last couple years.”

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