Rickie Fowler leads the way in Houston

He shot an eight under par first round

BY Simon Maguire 11:45 Friday 31 March 2017, 11:45 31 Mar 2017

Picture by Wilfredo Lee AP/Press Association Images

American Rickie Fowler shot a flawless first round of 64 to post the clubhouse lead on eight under par at the Shell Houston Open.

The organisers had set up the course to roughly mimic the conditions some of the field will face at the first major of the year at the US Masters at Augusta next week.

Eight birdies have given the world number nine a one shot lead. His bogey free day included birdies on three par 3s.

The fairways are wider than those at Augusta and Fowler hit 12 out of 14 off the tee as he looks to build momentum heading to Georgia. 

Speaking afterwards Fowler said: "Yes, the golf course was gettable but tough when you're playing in those kinds of conditions with mud balls. Not as much when you have wedges in your hands, but once you get some longer shots, longer irons to potentially woods going for par-5s in , it becomes a bit dicey."

The chasing pack are led by Sung Kang on seven under who also posted eight birdies and would have shared the lead but for a bogey on 18.

2009 British Open winner Stewart Cink is a further shot back and his return to form has been inspired by his wife's successful battle with cancer.

He's joined on six under by Jhonattan Vegas and Kyle Stanley. 

Other notable scores sees Adam Scott on four under, Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth  on three under while Phil Mickelson is even par after his first round. The full leaderboard can be viewed here.

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