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AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - American Rickie Fowler rode the momentum of a fast start to shoot a best of the day second-round 67 and move into a four-way share of the lead at the U.S. Masters on Friday.
The world number eight made an eagle and four birdies in blustery conditions to reach four under par for the tournament and give himself a shot at shedding the tag of being the best current player without a major title.
"It (my start) was big," the 28-year-old told reporters. "I made a great par putt at one after I put myself in a tough position. It is definitely one of the hardest starting holes we have throughout the year.
"My start really gave me a bit of cushion and momentum in the right direction and freed me up."
Fowler is planning to slow his game down as he bids to improve on his best Masters placing of tied fifth in 2014.
"On the weekends, I tend to try and walk a little slower because my tendency is to speed up and go a little too quickly," he said.
"So the more that I can slow down thoughts, my walking, and make sure that I think through everything and not get too quick out there, that's one of my keys."
Fowler will tee off on Saturday with Belgian Thomas Pieters, who sits alongside him at the top of the leaderboard. Spain's Sergio Garcia and American Charley Hoffman are also on four under.
"I've played with him a bit," the American said of Pieters, 25. "He's a very impressive player. He's got a lot of power. Great ball‑striker.
"I spent time with him before the Ryder Cup, but that's probably the most I've been around him. It's no surprise that he played well in the wind."
Fowler is relishing the prospect of playing in calmer conditions over the weekend.
"Greens are getting a little quicker," he said. "We are not going to have much wind so it's going to be fun. It's going to be a real golf tournament."
Editing by Peter Rutherford