Houston - Rickie Fowler edged closer to a timely first victory of the
year despite letting slip a share of the lead with a closing hole bogey on day
two of the Houston Open on Friday.
Fowler kick-started his second round 68 in storming manner
with four birdies from his second to sixth holes to race to 10-under par in
cloudless conditions on a still rain-softened Golf Club of Houston course.
The current world No 8 then stalled with six straight pars
before moving into a share of the lead at 11-under after chipping to just
18-inches for birdie at the par-5 13th hole.
Fowler, whose last victory came at December's Hero World
Challenge in the Bahamas, then parred his next four holes only to drop a shot
at the last after sending his tee shot into water down the left side of the
18th for a four-under 68.
The 29-year old Fowler headed to the scorer's hut trailing a
stroke behind compatriot Ben Hossler (68) and tied in second place with fellow
countrymen Abraham Ancer (66), Sam Ryder (68) and Nicholas Lindheim (66).
"I got off to a nice start as you can see with four
birdies through the first six, but it would have been nice to get a couple
better looks through the rest of the round and finish off a little bit
better," Fowler said.
"So, it's nice to obviously be in the position I'm in
and not having my best stuff.
"I've been playing solid the first two days, but some
things we can clean up and looking forward to the weekend, for sure."
Five players - the American foursome of Jordan Spieth (67),
Bronson Burgoon (68), Kevin Tway (70), Julian Suri (69) and Ireland's Paul
Dunne (71) – share sixth place on nine-under par.
Spieth capped his ever-improving form, and with less than a
week to the Masters, with five birdies in a six-hole run from the ninth to the
"Honestly, my goal for the week's been accomplished
just in two rounds," said Spieth.
"I am just trying to show some consistency and make
some birdies, see a couple putts go in," he added.
The day began with Irishman Dunne taking the first round
lead as Thursday's weather-hit first round was completed.
Dunne returned to the course at 7.20am local time and
birdied two of his closing four holes in an eight-under-par 64.
It is the first time Dunne, who secured his Houston start by
finishing top-10 in last week's PGA Tour Corales Championship in the Dominican
Republic, has led a PGA Tour event.
But the fireworks over his first round dried-up with Dunne
managing just three birdies against two bogeys for a 71.
"The course played a lot different heading into my
second round as the wind picked-up but then to shoot a 64 and to officially
lead a PGA Tour is something I haven't done before," he said.
"The good thing is I am driving the ball well and this
is after not playing all that well about three to four weeks ago but I did some
good work in the fortnight leading into last week competing in the Dominican
"So, everything is in good place with nothing being
Leading scores after second round of the USPGA Houston Open on Friday: (USA unless noted, par-72):
133 - Beau Hossler 65-68
134 - Rickie Fowler 66-68, Sam Ryder 66-68, Abraham Ancer 68-66, Nicholas Lindheim 68-66
135 - Paul Dunne (IRL) 64-71, Bronson Burgoon 67-68, Jordan Spieth 68-67, Kevin Tway 65-70, Julian Suri 66-69
136 - Shawn Stefani 67-69, Ryan Palmer 66-70, Murray Grayson 67-69, Matt Kuchar 68-68, Shane Lowry (IRL) 68-68, Luke List 68-68, Chesson Hadley 68-68, Bud Caulay 67-69, Sam Saunders 70-66, James Hahn 69-67, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-68, Brett Stegmaier 66-69