It's Augusta next if Kang wins

HOUSTON • Rickie Fowler four-putted the final green to hand Kang Sung Hoon a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Houston Open in Texas on Saturday.

The 28-year-old overcame a seven-stroke deficit to reel in the South Korean, only to stumble at the end with a bogey at the 17th and a double-bogey at the par-four 18th.

Those mistakes allowed Kang to use a 71 in a testing breeze at the Golf Club of Houston to finish the day on 17-under 199 with one round left, as he targets a last-minute berth at the US Masters.

Fowler (67) was on 202, with fellow American Russell Henley (69) another shot back.

Kang, 29, needs to win the tournament to qualify for this week's Masters, the first Major of the year, and if he does he might like to thank Fowler's putter.

"I'll just stick to my game plan," he told PGATour.com, aware of the final-round forecast for strong storms that could make for a long day.

"It was very hard work (today). Greens got firmer, faster. I tried to really grind it out and I did pretty good."

Kang heard the cheering and clapping from the preceding group following the popular Fowler, who delighted his overflowing gallery by picking up eight birdies in the first 14 holes, including a monster 50-footer putt at the seventh hole.

The American's first dropped shot did not come until the par-four 17th, where he missed a five-footer, a minor hiccup compared to the final green, where his first putt from 55 feet stopped more than four feet short of the hole. He had a look of disbelief when he missed the second putt, and his expression turned ashen after his next miss from inside four feet.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2017, with the headline 'It's Augusta next if Kang wins'. Print Edition | Subscribe