World ranking allure for Fowler at Byron Nelson

California: PGA Tour rookie Rickie Fowler will have one eye firmly fixed on world ranking points when he competes in this week`s Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas.

A top-five finish here would lift the Californian into the world`s top 50, thereby earning him automatic exemption for next month`s US Open and the July 15-18 British Open.

"I knew I was going to have to play well coming into this week ... to try and get in the top 50 in the world," the 21-year-old Fowler told reporters at the TPC Four Seasons.

"That would take two qualifiers out of my near future, for the (U.S.) Open and the British Open, so that`s kind of the main thing on the agenda: to play well and get that out of the way."

Fowler lies 54th in the world rankings and he decided to skip last week`s Texas Open in San Antonio in order to be well-rested for the Byron Nelson Championship.

"I wanted to have a fresh week coming to these three tournaments -- the Colonial and Memorial but focusing on this week to play well," he said.

"Now I know I need to finish top-five. We`ll try and block it out but it will certainly be in the back of my mind."

Week`s Break

Fowler, who turned professional last year and earned his PGA Tour card by tying for 15th at the qualifying tournament, has performed well this season after taking a week`s break.

"I had a week off before (the) Phoenix (Open), I got second there; I had a week off before Hilton Head, and I tied for eighth," he said.

"Those were some of my better finishes so I feel good coming in after a week off. I`m rested, didn`t touch a club a whole bunch, slapped it around a little bit and didn`t focus or grind too hard."

Fowler, who has recorded four top-10s and five missed cuts in 13 PGA Tour starts this year, faces a comparatively weak field at the TPC Four Seasons.

None of the world`s top 10 will be competing, with American Hunter Mahan (17th) and US PGA champion Yang Yong-eon of South Korea (19th) the highest-ranked players set to tee off in Thursday`s opening round.

South African Rory Abating will defend the title he won by two shots last year after holding off a late charge by Britain`s Brian Davis.

Bureau Report

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