Fowler sets pace at Houston Open

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Rickie Fowler made a fine and flawless start at the Houston Open after carding an eight-under-par 64.

The 28-year-old American did not drop a shot throughout Thursday’s opening round as he earned a one-stroke lead in Texas.

The four-time PGA Tour winner – who is gearing up for the upcoming Masters – teed off on the back nine and opened with a birdie.

Fowler – seeking his first major – then birdied three consecutive holes, starting from the 12th, before gaining shots at the 16th, third, fourth and ninth following the turn after sitting out the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play last week.

The lowest round of the season for @RickieFowler.

64. pic.twitter.com/tgXZi1jyDB

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 30, 2017

"The reason last week that I wanted to be off, get some down-time rest and spend time with friends," Fowler said. "I just don’t play four in a row, and Bay Hill is a place that I like to play. Unfortunately, I had to miss it last year, but I wasn’t going to miss it this year."

Sung Kang is Fowler’s nearest rival at seven under heading into Friday’s second round at the Golf Club of Houston.

A shot further back are Stewart Cink, Jhonattan Vegas and Kyle Stanley.

Justin Rose is among seven players in a share of sixth position at five under, while former world number one Adam Scott is a stroke behind.

"I won’t need the putter, thank you." — (probably)#ShotOfTheDaypic.twitter.com/ol8B7D4J89

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 31, 2017

Two-time major champion Jordan Spieth ended the day at three under the card.

Looking to put his nightmare Masters capitulation behind him, Spieth had five birdies and two bogeys for a 69.

.@JordanSpieth makes it look easy. pic.twitter.com/YXwGQUCa2k

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 30, 2017

Meanwhile, reigning champion Jim Herman opened his title defence with a 74.