PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Rickie Fowler turned in another strong finish in one of golf's biggest events and gained the experience of playing in the final group of a major.
He will have to wait a little longer for his first major title or his second PGA Tour victory.
The 25-year-old Fowler tied for second Sunday in the U.S. Open, finishing with a 2-over 72 for a 1-under 279 total at Pinehurst No. 2. Fowler and Erik Compton ended up eight strokes behind runaway winner Martin Kaymer, who dominated the tournament so completely the first two days that everyone else was playing for second.
Ultimately, Fowler said, his second top-five major finish of the year is proof he's inching closer to some breakthrough moments — the kind that could eliminate the questions about whether he is more hype than substance.
"It doesn't matter what I do. I'm always going to have critics," Fowler said. "... Obviously, there's been some great finishes, but I want to win and I want to win more."
Fowler's only tour win came two years ago in the Wells Fargo Championship. He was two shots back at the Masters going into the final day before shooting 73 to tie for fifth.
He has always attracted plenty of attention with his flamboyant style, from the knickers he wore Thursday in opening round in tribute to late U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart to the nearly head-to-toe orange of alma mater Oklahoma State he wore Sunday.
His game has been a work in progress with swing coach Butch Harmon since the end of last year following the death of former coach Barry McDonnell in 2011. While Fowler has shown improvement, he has also missed the cut in three of six events since the Masters.