NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. --- Before he even teed off, Rickie Fowler knew this was going to be a different day at the AT&T National. The course record already had been matched, with several other low rounds in progress at suddenly soft Aronimink Golf Club.
One thought crossed his mind: Go time.
That's the message Fowler always puts on Twitter right before he plays, and off he went. He birdied six of his opening 10 holes -- and missed two other chances inside 10 feet. He wound up with 6-under-par 64 on Saturday and a share of the lead with Nick Watney, who set the course record with 62.
"I got out, and my game has been feeling good all week," Fowler said. "Went out and started off well, hit some good shots and kept moving from there."
Watney took a while to get moving. He made a mess of the par-5 ninth and was even-par on the front nine, going nowhere.What happened after that, not even Watney can explain.
"The hole looked really big on the back," said Watney, who won at Doral this season. "The ball was going where I was looking, and by the time I looked up, I was 8-under."
That's 8-under for his round, and on the back nine alone.
Watney shot 27 on the back, missing the PGA Tour's nine-hole record by a shot.
When the massacre of Aronimink was over -- 40 of 76 players shot in the 60s, including 14 rounds at 66 or better -- nothing had really been settled except for a lot of birdies being made.
Fowler and Watney were at 9-under 201, one shot ahead of 36-hole leader K.J. Choi, who came to life late in his round with two birdies on the final three holes to salvage 69.
Steve Marino, who had 63 to own the course record for about 20 minutes, was two shots behind at 205 along with Webb Simpson (64) and Adam Scott (66).
The group another shot back included former Georgia golfer Chris Kirk, whose 63 was in the record book much longer -- about an hour.
Scott was tempted to start firing at flags when he saw all low scores, but stuck to his plan and meticulously worked his way around the golf course.
"I'm quite happy with a 66, to be honest," Scott said. "But yeah, it doesn't really stack up against a 62, does it?"
Fowler, the 22-year-old hasn't won on the PGA Tour in 46 starts as a pro.