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Percy and Stadler hold Houston lead

Australian Cameron Percy carded a bogey-free opening round 67 to share the lead in the Houston Open.
Australian Cameron Percy carded a bogey-free opening round 67 to share the lead in the Houston Open.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • American Kevin Stadler and Australia's Cameron Percy share Houston lead
  • The pair card five-under-par rounds of 67 to lie one stroke clear of the field
  • Defending champion Paul Casey not playing after withdrawing with a shoulder injury
RELATED TOPICS
  • Golf
  • PGA Tour
  • Kevin Stadler

(CNN) -- American Kevin Stadler and Australia's Cameron Percy share the lead after the opening round of the Houston Open in Texas on Thursday.

The pair carded five-under-par round of 67 to lie a shot ahead of a group of four players -- Vaughn Taylor, James Driscoll, Kevin Sutherland and Anthony Kim -- the latter duo having to overcome strong gusting winds in the afternoon.

However, some big names lie a futher shot adrift, with Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson all looking good in the final warm-up event for next week's Masters at Augusta.

South Africa's Ernie Els, who has won the previous two PGA Tour events at Doral and Bay Hill, is another shot behind on 70.

Defending champion Paul Casey is not in the field after withdrawing with a shoulder injury, although the Englishman expects to compete at Augusta, while Fiji's Vijay Singh withdrew after nine holes with a back injury.

"I spent hours and hours on the putting green on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it has made a little difference," Percy told reporters after carding five birdies and no bogies in his round.

Meanwhile, Stadler surged up to six-under-par with four birdies in a row on the back nine, but dropped back after a bogey at the last.