Rickie Fowler makes strong start at Houston Open

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The 23-year-old gave Ian Poulter everything he could handle, stringing together four straight birdies on Nos.

That has happened four times since 2008, when Augusta National offered invitations to winners at full PGA Tour events: Johnson Wagner (2008), Matt Jones (2014), Jim Herman (2016) and Henley a year ago.

The top 50 at last Monday's cut-off earned exemption to Augusta, and Poulter was so dejected after being initially misinformed he was in the Masters field that he considered skipping Houston.

But a second round 64 - the joint lowest of the tournament - changed his plans, and he added a seven under par 65 in the third round to share into a share of the lead at 14 under.

Meanwhile, in the group right behind, Fowler produced a birdie binge of his own, holing four on his opening six holes.

Poulter made a strong start with birdies on the second, fourth, sixth and eighth, before dropping a shot on the par three 9th.

Knowing it would take a near-perfect shot to reach the back-left hole location, Hossler overshot the green and found the hazard, leading to a triple-bogey that ended his tournament hopes.

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A rush of adrenaline saw the Englishman blast his tee shot 85 feet past the flag, and when he missed an eight footer for par it was his first dropped shot in fifty holes.

Spieth, who has struggled mightily with the putter this season, did his best to figure things out on Friday at the Golf Club of Houston in his home state of Texas.

Poulter hasn't always been the most popular player in America and has so often been a thorn in their side during previous Ryder Cup victories.

Poulter, who held a four-shot lead midway through the final round, trailed by one with three holes remaining after Hossler rattled in four successive birdies from the 12th, but the Englishman holed out a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to extend the tournament.

Poulter's achievement is even more incredible considering he arrived in Houston in a filthy mood.

He put it in his bag at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play a fortnight ago, having had it sitting in his office as a "memento" from the "Miracle at Medinah".

He actually moved up to 51st, and had his Augusta hopes shattered - before deciding to do something about it.

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