Adam Scott gearing up for the Masters at Shell Houston Open

Playing with mud on the golf ball was the norm for approach shots into the Golf Club of Houston Tournament Course's demanding putting surfaces on Thursday, but that extra challenge didn't seem to bother Rickie Fowler much at all.

Fowler, who finished in the top five in all four major events in 2014, is still looking for an elusive first big career success and is feeling positive after his opening round display in conditions which are similar to what is expected at Augusta.

Fowler produced a bogey-free performance kick-started by an opening nine of 31.

Adam Scott is back at the Shell Houston Open for the first time in seven years with a change in strategy for the majors.

American Rickie Fowler shot an 8-under 64 Thursday for a one-shot lead over south Korean Sung Kang after the first round of the Houston Open.

Further birdies on the 15th and 17th took the 29-year-old to the turn in 33 and he picked up further shots on the first, second, fourth and seventh before holing from 30 feet for an eagle on the par-five eighth.




He was one of three Australians to shoot 68 along with 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and four-time PGA Tour victor Aaron Baddeley.

"I really like where I'm at right now", said Fowler. Unfortunately, I had to miss it last year, but I wasn't going to miss it this year.

Of the leading Britons, Andy Sullivan was a shot behind Rose and in a tie for 13th after his round of 68 while Luke Donald had a one-under 71.

"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. "I've got to play very well obviously but we'll give it a go".

"It got a little bit better at the end, but the first nine or 10 holes it was a struggle", Vegas said.

And playing partner Jordan Spieth was faring even worse, the former Masters champion and Texas native three over par for the day and level for the tournament, a shot outside the projected cut.

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