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Recap: Cook seeks career-altering Shell Houston Open win

Austin Cook earned his spot in the Shell Houston Open on Monday, and he’ll have a chance to earn the title on Sunday.

The 24-year-old mini-tour golfer who played his college golf at Arkansas did not fold under the pressure of playing alongside Phil Mickelson Saturday, as he carded a 2-under 70 to head into Sunday’s final round one off of Jordan Spieth’s lead.

“It was a great day,” said Cook. “Lot of fun to get to play with Phil in front of that crowd. I hadn’t played in front of that kind of crowd before, and it was a lot of fun.”

Cook played the front nine in 3-under 33 before making a big mistake at the par-5 15th. Cook drove his ball into a hazard and was forced to take a penalty stroke. It appeared he was going to head to the next tee with minimal damage, but missed a short bogey putt to make double. Cook bounced back two holes later, hitting a birdie putt at 17 and moving back within a shot of the lead.

Cook, who tied for 130th at 2014 Web.com Tour Q-School, had only one PGA Tour start heading into the week and ranked 993 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

That could change with a win on Sunday.

See how it happened at Golf Club of Houston, and be sure to scroll down for complete coverage from the week:

• • •

Update No. 25: 6:06 p.m. ET

After a poor tee shot, Austin Cook made a nice up-and-down to save par at the 18th. Here’s how the final group finished:

• Austin Cook (70): 13 under

• Phil Mickelson (75): 8 under

• Andrew Putnam (76): 8 under

• • •

Update No. 24: 5:45 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth makes par at 18, carding a 67 and heading into the clubhouse with the lead at 14 under.

Austin Cook birdied the 17th hole, making it back to 13 under par with one hole to play.

• • •

Update No. 23: 5:29 p.m. ET

Here’s a look at the 40-footer that gave Jordan Spieth the lead:

• • •

Update No. 22: 5:20 p.m. ET

Phil Mickelson made his third birdie of the day at the par-5 15th, making a 10-footer for birdie to make it back to even par on the day and 11 under, three shots off Jordan Spieth’s lead.

Spieth holds sole possession of the lead after Austin Cook made a costly double bogey at the par-5 15th. Cook took a penalty after hitting into a hazard off the tee and missed a 3-footer for bogey.

• • •

Update No. 21: 5:07 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth nailed a 40-footer for birdie from the fringe at 16, taking a share of the lead at 14 under.

Spieth’s bomb comes as Austin Cook is dealing with some trouble at 15, where he hit into a hazard off the tee.

• • •

Update No. 20: 5:02 p.m. ET

After opening the week with a 63, Scott Piercy fell back with a 2-over 74 Friday. He made up some ground during round three with a 6-under 66, heading into Sunday at 13 under.

Russell Henley also made a move, carding a second straight 68 to reach 11 under.

• • •

Update No. 19: 4:46 p.m. ET

Austin Cook earned a bounce-back birdie at the par-5 13th. He hit the green in two at the 590-yard hole, setting up a two-putt birdie.

Cook owns the lead at 14 under.

• • •

Update No. 18: 4:40 p.m. ET

Shortly after taking sole possession of the lead with three birdies in a span of four holes, Jordan Spieth gave it right back with a three-putt bogey at the par-3 14th. Spieth missed a 5-footer for par to drop back to 13 under, where he’s tied with Austin Cook, Johnson Wagner and Scott Piercy.

That was the first three-putt for Spieth in his past 280 holes, according to the Golf Channel.

Patrick Reed finished up with a 67 to head into Sunday at 10 under and Paul Casey, who won the Shell Houston Open in 2009, closed with a 68. He’s at 11 under for the week.

• • •

Update No. 17: 4:30 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth failed to capitalize at the short par-4 12th, but Austin Cook played it even more poorly. Cook had less than 100 yards into the hole after his tee shot and went on to take four strokes from there, taking his first bogey of the day and dropping back to 13 under.

Spieth now holds sole possession of the lead at 14 under.

• • •

Update No. 16: 4:25 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth took a share of the lead with a birdie at 13. The 21-year-old has birdies on three of his past four holes, with his only par coming at the drivable par-4 12th. He’s tied at 14 under with Austin Cook.

Johnson Wagner saved par at 18 to card a 6-under 66 and head to the clubhouse at 13 under.

• • •

Update No. 15: 4:05 p.m. ET

Johnson Wagner made his first mistake of the day, dropping a shot at the 17th. Wagner previously was bogey-free and 7 under on the day. The bogey put Wagner at 13 under, even with Jordan Spieth and Keegan Bradley and one shot behind leader Austin Cook.

Spieth laid up at the drivable par-4 12th and failed to put a short wedge shot close. He missed his birdie bid and moved on with par.

• • •

Update No. 14: 3:52 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth made his second straight birdie, moving to 13 under and one off the leaders.

Keegan Bradley is riding a wave of two straight birdies, and he drove the green at the par-4 12th to set up a two-putt birdie scenario. He’s at 12 under.

Russell Henley is also moving up the leaderboard. He, too, has made two straight birdies and is 4 under on the day and 11 under for the event.

• • •

Update No. 13: 3:33 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth puts his approach at the 10th within five feet, setting up an easy birdie to start the back nine. He moves into a tie for third at 12 under, two off of the lead.

Johnson Wagner grabbed a share of that lead with a birdie at the par-5 15th. Wagner is now at 7 under for the day.

• • •

Update No. 12: 3:29 p.m. ET

Austin Cook capitalizes at the par-5 eighth, sticking his third shot to 5 feet and making the putt to take the lead at 14 under.

• • •

Update No. 11: 3:25 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth was unable to capitalize on some of his birdies chances, but he also failed to make any big mistakes, playing the front nine in 2-under 34 and without a bogey. He’s two off the lead at 11 under.

Keegan Bradley joined Spieth at that mark with a birdie at No. 10. Bradley is 3 under on the day.

• • •

Update No. 10: 3:15 p.m. ET

Austin Cook made a 25-footer for birdie at the par-3 seventh, taking a share of the lead with Johnson Wagner at 13 under. Cook heads to the par-5 eighth, where he’ll have a good shot at making a second straight birdie.

• • •

Update No. 9: 3:02 p.m. ET

Kyle Reifers is 2 under through eight holes today, and tied for 36th at 6 under overall. So why are we mentioning him? Well, here’s why:

• • •

Update No. 8: 2:46 p.m. ET

Phil Mickelson puts his tee ball in the water at the par-4 fifth and ends up with double bogey. He’s now 10 under and three shots off the lead.

• • •

Update No. 7: 2:29 p.m. ET

Andrew Putnam wedges to 2 feet and makes the birdie putt at the par-5 fourth to retake sole possession of the lead, which is now 13 under.

• • •

Update No. 6: 2:07 p.m. ET

Phil Mickelson and Andrew Putnam, both through three holes, are now joined in the lead at 12 under by Johnson Wagner and Monday qualifier Austin Cook.

• • •

Update No. 5: 1:28 p.m. ET

Patrick Reed aces the par-3 16th hole with a 5-iron from 178 yards to move to 7 under.

• • •

Update No. 4: 1:13 p.m. ET

Good start for Phil Mickelson, who sinks a 10-footer at the par-4 first hole to join Andrew Putnam in the lead at 12 under.

• • •

Update No. 3: 1:10 p.m. ET

Johnson Wagner, winner of the 2008 Shell Houston Open, is 3 under through five holes today as he’s moved to 10 under. Also moving to 10 under is Jordan Spieth, who birdied his first hole.

The lead group has just teed off, as well.

• • •

Update No. 2: 12:37 p.m. ET

Michael Putnam birdies his opening hole to move to 9 under. He’s now three shots back of brother and leader Andrew Putnam, who tees off in less than 30 minutes.

• • •

Update No. 1: 10 a.m. ET

Before we get started with the blog today, let’s recap Friday’s action:

• • •

Friday

Mickelson excels at Shell Houston Open with crisp short game

Phil Mickelson is one shot off the lead heading into the weekend thanks to a sharp short game.

Recap: Putnam takes lead at Shell Houston Open

A late surge put Andrew Putnam on top at the Shell Houston Open.

Tiger’s Masters return leaves one question: Why?

Jeff Babineau gives his view on Tiger’s return to the Masters.

Tiger Woods commits to play in 2015 Masters

Tiger Woods announced that he will play in the 2015 Masters at Augusta National.

• • •

Thursday

Sources: Tiger shoots 74 in Masters practice round

Tiger Woods made five birdies, but also some poor chips in a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club, according to a source.

Rejuvenated Piercy fired 63 at Shell Houston Open

A healthy Scott Piercy found his game during the first round of the Shell Houston Open.

Phil Mickelson eyes Masters momentum at Shell Houston Open

Phil Mickelson is among the contenders in Texas, and he hopes he can parlay that into success at the Masters.

Recap: Holmes starts hot, but trails Piercy at Shell Houston Open

J.B. Holmes is among the group chasing Scott Piercy through one round of the Shell Houston Open.

• • •

Wednesday

Dufner, Donald into Masters despite rankings tumble

As tumbles go, they don’t rank with Tiger Woods plummeting from No. 1 to 104th, but the picture at the end of March 2015 looks vastly different for Jason Dufner and Luke Donald than it did one year ago.

Hanson, Estes ride injured list with thoughts on return

Taking stock of the disabled list might be a topic of conversation dominated by the curiosity over Tiger Woods, but you can find others who have had their medical issues, too.

Masters rookie class of 2014 will be hard to beat

As rookie crops go, last year’s was a pretty good one in Augusta. Two players who were making their debuts finished tied for second at the Masters: Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt.

Clark WDs from Masters with elbow injury

Tim Clark will not tee it up in next week’s Masters. Clark said his left elbow was feeling better, but he just hasn’t had enough time to properly prepare for the season’s first major.

Top American? Put Jimmy Walker in that mix

The answer to the question, “Who is the top American golfer?” used to be an easy one. That was the Tiger Woods era. Now, there’s a whole string of candidates, among them Jimmy Walker.

Letter from McIlroy’s childhood shows early eye on Woods

A young Rory McIlroy’s sentiments about catching Tiger Woods say a lot about the World No. 1’s competitive nature.

Spieth trimming the fat, planning a tribute for Augusta

At the Shell Houston Open, Jordan Spieth has one eye on the Masters, where in 2014 he held the lead on the front nine Sunday in his debut performance.

• • •

Tuesday

Agent confirms Woods was in Augusta to play 18 holes

A Gulfstream G5 plane with the tail numbers matching those of Tiger Woods’ plane was spotted Tuesday at Augusta Regional Airport, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

DraftKings Fantasy Tip Sheet: Shell Houston Open

The Masters is a week away, but first the PGA Tour will make a stop at the Golf Club of Houston for the Shell Houston Open, which begins Thursday.

Shell Houston Open field, by the rankings

Report: Jason Dufner, wife Amanda file for divorce

Jason Dufner and his wife Amanda filed a divorce settlement on March 16, and a final ruling is expected in April.

Walker withdraws from Shell Houston Open

Jimmy Walker, who won last week’s Valero Texas Open, withdrew from the Shell Houston Open because of an illness.

Garcia remains focused on Shell Houston Open before turning to Augusta

It’s that time of year. Along with the blooming of the azaleas, there is the annual discussion of who will win his first major, and no one seems more overdue than Sergio Garcia.

• • •

Monday

Tiger drops from top 100 in world rankings; 4 earn Masters invites

Tiger Woods dropped out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking while four players in the top 50 earned their Masters invites to push the field for next week at Augusta National to 99.

Stenson is out for Houston, Masters practice due to flu

Henrik Stenson pulled out of the Shell Houston Open and will not be able to practice at Augusta National a week ahead of the Masters after getting the flu.

Bradley and Donald play golf, hoops with Jordan and Brady in Bahamas

Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Keegan Bradley and Luke Donald played golf in basketball in the Bahamas two weeks ahead of Bradley and Donald’s appearance at the Masters.

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