Irish trio in the hunt for a spot in The Masters after strong showing at Houston Open 1 year ago

Irish trio in the hunt for a spot in The Masters after strong showing at Houston Open

Irish golfers Padraig Harrington, Seamus Power and Paul Dunne are all in the hunt for a place at next week's Masters after strong opening rounds on the first day of the Shell Houston Open.

Harrington and Seamus Power both sit on minus five after shooting opening round 67s on day one, while Wicklow's Paul Dunne leads the Irish charge in fifth place on minus six.

The winner of this event will earn a place at next week's Masters in Augusta with Harrington's opening round 67 the Dubliner's lowest round of 2018 thus far.

Meanwhile Shane Lowry is tied for 26th place on the leaderboard after his first round score of 68 left him four under and four shots off the pace.

American golfer Sam Ryder is the clubhouse leader at the conclusion of day one with a score of eight under through 15 holes after a rain delayed day was eventually halted due to darkness.

The Houston Open is the final tournament ahead of the Masters, the first golf major of 2018, and four of the last five Houston Open winners have advancedinto the Masters (JB Holmes had already qualified when he won in 2015).