Rickie Fowler holds onto early lead at Shell Houston Open

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Rickie Fowler holds onto early lead at Shell Houston Open

PGA Tour

Rickie Fowler holds onto early lead at Shell Houston Open

Here is a recap of Thursday’s first round of the 2017 Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas:

Leaderboard

LEADING: Rickie Fowler is at it again. The 28-year-old birdied four of his first five holes on the way to a bogey-free 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead in Texas. Fowler won the Honda Classic last month and has top-16 finishes in his last four starts. He’s also placed in the top 10 in two of his last three showings at the Shell Houston Open. So far, it’s all good again for Fowler.

CHASING: Sung Kang appeared he’d get a late share of the lead as he sat 8 under through 17 holes in his round. Fowler actually had a three-shot lead after the morning wave, but it was all gone with Kang’s score. But a bogey at the last for Kang meant a 7-under 65 and a solo second spot. Three players – Kyle Stanley, Jhonattan Vegas and Stewart Cink – are tied for third at 6 under. Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley and Russell Henley are among seven players tied for seventh at 5 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Here’s a bizarre but amazing short-game shot from Sung Kang. This incredible recovery meant a par at 14. He would birdie two of the following three holes to put a stamp on his round.

QUOTABLE: “(I) managed my way around nicely with mudballs all day, as everyone else did.” – Rickie Fowler

CHIP SHOTS:  Harold Varner III posts an opening 68 to sit in a tie for 13th. D.A. Points, the 2013 champion here and last week’s winner at the Puerto Rico Open, also opened in 4 under. Grayson Murray, who has gained attention for his social media antics, is also at 4 under. … Jordan Spieth opened in 3-under 69 to put himself in a tie for 30th. … Patrick Cantlay is T-44 at 2 under in his third start in his return to competitive golf. … Jon Rahm, fresh off a runner-up at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opens in 71 to sit T-66. … Phil Mickelson shoots 72 and is T-86. … Defending champion Jim Herman is T-111 after an opening 2-over 74. Henrik Stenson also came in at that number.

UP NEXT: Friday’s second round will be on Golf Channel from 4-7 p.m. ET. Follow all the action live on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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