HUMBLE, Texas — Colt Knost and Tommy Armour III shot 70s on Saturday morning to tie Paul Casey, Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden for the lead at 8 under after two rounds of the Shell Houston Open.
Fred Couples and Henrik Stenson were among the players one shot back at 7 under. Justin Leonard and 2006 champion Stuart Appleby were in a group of seven players at 6 under.
The third round was starting later Saturday afternoon, with threesomes teeing off on Nos. 1 and 10. The tournament has been playing catch-up since high winds forced suspension of play Thursday.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut at 9 over par. He followed a first-round 77 with a 76 Saturday that included two triple bogeys. But Mickelson didn’t seem worried about his game heading into next week’s Masters. He hadn’t played since winning the CA Championship on March and said he needed some tournament rounds, regardless of the scores.
“It was really good that I played here, cause I made some mistakes during these first two rounds that you just can’t do competitively,” he said. “Stuff like that, I needed to get out of my system after a couple of weeks off.
“It doesn’t feel like my game is far off,” he said. “I’m not overly concerned with what the number showed. I’m looking forward to next week.”
Casey was the first to post 8 under, finishing a second-round 70 on Friday night, just before play was suspended for darkness. Ogilvy came back in the morning and made four pars to stay tied for the lead.
Senden, Knost and Armour also wrapped up their second rounds in calm conditions early Saturday. Senden didn’t make a bogey until hitting the fairway bunker on No. 18.
The breeze picked up by midmorning, but that didn’t seem to faze Couples or Leonard. Couples birdied three of the four par 5s in the strengthening wind to tie for the lead. He also found the fairway bunker off the tee on No. 18 and bogeyed for a 69.
“When the wind is blowing, it’s hard out there, but I got it around,” said Couples, who finished fourth at Redstone last year. “I came into today, after being 4-under, I knew there would be a lot of guys ahead of me. But I just thought, ‘If I hit it solid, I can keep ground.’ It’s a good spot to be in.”
Leonard also bogeyed the 18th to wrap up a second-round 70. He only needed 15 putts on Saturday, but felt like he should’ve had even fewer.
“Hopefully, the next couple rounds, I’ll get those putts to start going in,” he said. “I’m playing solid, not doing anything really special. Would like to have a few more putts go in.”
Padraig Harrington shot a 67 Saturday to reach 5 under and Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman were another shot back at 4 under. The 54-year-old Norman is making a rare appearance on the regular Tour to get ready for Augusta.
He was among the players whose rounds were suspended Thursday and then faced strong breezes Saturday. He made five birdies with two bogeys on Saturday.
“Felt like a really good round today, even though we played in the worst of conditions,” Norman said. “I played very nicely. I can’t complain, the golf course has been good to me.”
Divots: Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, K.J. Choi and David Toms were among the other big names who missed the cut. Toms needed a win to qualify for Augusta, but will miss the Masters for the first time since 2004. … Jeff Overton and Michael Campbell withdrew Saturday morning. … Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara got a standing ovation when they showed up in the pavilion behind the 18th green about noon. The Bushes live in Houston. … The 488-yard 18th was the hardest hole on the course, with an average score of 4.229 through two rounds.