Rickie Fowler on the charge but 500-1 Ryder leads the way at the Houston Open
Big guns are in the hunt
Live on Sky Sports Golf, 1.30pm Friday
The Houston Open offers golfers a final chance to qualify for next week’s Masters and Sam Ryder was intent on seizing the opportunity on Thursday as he moved to eight under par for his opening round before play was suspended at the Golf Club of Houston.
PGA Tour rookie Ryder, who still has three holes to play this morning, is followed by Lucas Glover, Kevin Tway and Beau Hossler at seven under while Rickie Fowler stalks the leaders following an opening 66.
Fowler has assumed favouritism - he is 6-1 from 11-1 - but there are plenty of classy operators in the mix. Former Masters champions Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson opened up with composed 68s while Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are on the same mark.
The five ante-post market leaders will have eyes on Augusta, however, and will be happy to know that their games are in good order as they prepare for the trip to Georgia.
Spieth, who is bidding to overcome uncharacteristic putting issues in his home state, is a 12-1 shot for Houston glory, as is Rose, with Mickelson 16-1 and Stenson available to back at 20.
Ryder’s price has contracted significantly from 500-1 into 40-1 as he seeks to seal an Augusta spot but there is still plenty of golf to play, at least 57 holes remain for the 28-year-old Floridian. Irishman Paul Dunne, who is yet to qualify for the Masters, was six-under through 14 holes last night.
Second-round threeballs punters can consider Fowler in the 7pm match when he tees off alongside Stenson and Martin Kaymer.
The 29-year-old Florida man doesn’t win enough tournaments for someone so talented but he has spoken of his desire to head into Masters week with a victory under his belt and he’ll be throwing everything at this.
Stenson is the biggest danger but the ice-cool Swede has never bettered 14th at the Houston Open while Kaymer played well to shoot 70 in the first round but is hard to trust given his well-documented recent wrist troubles.
R Fowler to win threeball
1pt 13-10 Coral, Ladbrokes
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