Aussies hunt in Houston as PGA fans return

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Australia's contingent at the Houston Open are all within four shots of the lead after the first round of the PGA Tour event, which welcomed the fans back.

Jason Day and Cameron Davis are in a share of second after rounds of three-under 67 while Adam Scott and Greg Chalmers (both 68s) and Matt Jones (69) all shot under par on a difficult layout.

With the Masters just a week away, one of the 37 golfers in the field this week already set for Augusta National - Brandt Snedeker - set the pace on Thursday.

The American found a lot of fairways on his way to a five-under 65 and a two-stoke advantage.

The tournament - at public Memorial Park for the first time since 1963 - is limiting ticket sales to 2,000 a day.

It's the first domestic PGA Tour event to have fans since The Players Championship on March 12.

"I think that's a big reason why I played well today," Snedeker said.

"I love having fans out here."

Starting on the back nine, former world No.1 Day made the turn at two-over which include a double-bogey before he sizzled coming home with four consecutive birdies from the 3rd hole and another on the 9th.

Like Day, Scott made a move on his back nine with four birdies to compensate for an early double-bogey.

Davis made the most of the early conditions and was among the clubhouse leaders for most of the day until Snedeker grabbed the advantage.

The event marked the return of top ranked Dustin Johnson, after a positive coronavirus test knocked him out of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek and the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.

His two-over 72 has him mid-field along with Brooks Koepka, who is playing for the second time since a two-month layoff to heal injuries, defending champion Lanto Griffin and Jordan Spieth.

"It certainly felt more normal as we were playing today and especially as we were finishing up," Spieth said about the fans.

Koepka served as a consultant on course architect Tom Doak's renovation.

"I think every time Jordan hit it in the water, he told me that was my fault," Koepka said.

Phil Mickelson shot 76 but spare a thought for Grayson Murray who carded a 15-over 85, which included an 8 on the par-3 15th, a triple-bogey and a double-bogey.