Fowler shoots 64 for 1-shot lead at Houston Open

Kang reeled off four birdies in a row over the front nine and joined Fowler in a share of the lead when he rolled in his fourth birdie putt after the turn at the 17th, although the South Korean slipped back when he three-putted the final green to sign for a 65.

Of the Australians, it is Scott who will be particularly pleased with a strong finish to his round that included three birdies in his last seven holes. "We had a 230 (yard) hole and no help". He did this despite unfavorable damp and muddy conditions. As the sun came up and dried the course later in the day, the greens began to play faster.

"The reason last week that I wanted to be off, get some down-time rest and spend time with friends", Fowler said.

"I felt like I got some good breaks with having mud on the same side as where the trouble was and that I could kind of keep it fairly conservative", Fowler said.

The 29-year-old, who turns 30 on Thursday, has produced two near-flawless rounds to storm to the top of the leaderboard on 16-under par, which is now good enough for a remarkable six-shot lead. Reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose of England was among seven others another stroke off the pace.

"It's probably more nervous when you get out there on the mound than we really ever get or maybe close to Ryder Cup nerves", Fowler said. "You just hope not to screw it up".

Texans Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker finished at 69, five shots behind Fowler.

Kang is among the 115 players who need a victory to qualify for Augusta National, as Jim Herman did by winning in Houston past year. Only 29 players already are in the Masters.

Two-time major victor and Texas native Jordan Spieth returned an opening 69, while three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson had to settle for a level-par 72.

To say he's playing really well this week would be a disservice.

Four players were one shot behind Icher, including 17-year-old amateur Eun Jeong Seong, who had an early hole-in-one.

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