It was not the Sunday that was predicted, as Rickie Fowler was not the man to challenge and then beat Sung Kang to the win at the Shell Houston Open.
Fowler started the day three adrift of Kang, who was eyeing his first win and a place at The Masters. Fowler, however, was not the man to deny Kang, instead it was compatriot Russell Henley.
Fowler went the wrong way, though, going 3 over for his first four holes.
‘Just an alignment problem that caused me to make a couple of bad swings,’ Fowler said.
He hooked his drive into a swampy bog and double-bogeyed the second hole, then hit roughly the same shot—this time hitting driver off the fairway—into a lake to bogey the par-5 fourth.
‘Cost me a few shots,’ Fowler said. ‘Nice that I got it turned around and started to make some good swings and made some birdies and fought back, got a good finish out of it.’
Fowler birdied five of his last 11 holes to tie for third place, four shots behind, and wound up with a career-high 27 birdies in Houston. That was tied with Henley for tops in the field.
All in all, he said he was encouraged by the result.
‘Russell played awesome today,’ Fowler said.
‘It was fun to watch. Nice to at least kind of jump on the birdie train with him on the back nine. Happy for him and [I will] see him here in a couple days at Augusta.’
Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images