Intriguing storylines at Houston Open finale

Bryce Molder will be in search of his first PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Shell Houston Open.

Bryce Molder will be in search of his first PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Shell Houston Open.

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Texan Jeff Maggert is in contention at the Shell Houston Open.

HUMBLE, Texas – Some intriguing storylines heading into the final round of the Shell Houston Open:

Anthony Kim and Bryce Molder are your co-leaders at 10 under.

Kim is looking for his third victory after a winless 2009 season. He’s become a forgotten man in the “best player under-30” conversation.

Molder is seeking that elusive first title. He’s among a host of pros that need a win to earn a spot in the Masters. The Georgia Tech grad played the course in college, but would like nothing more than to play Augusta National as a pro.

Vaughn Taylor, 8 under and T-3, has had the privilege. He’s the hometown kid, who moved to Augusta, Ga., as an infant, attended high school and college there, and still resides near his parents. Taylor had a share of the lead on the back nine Sunday in 2007, but slipped back to a T-10.

Jeff Maggert, 7 under and T-5, is a Houston resident. He has made 21 consecutive appearances in the SHO since 1990, tying a tournament record with Jack Burke Jr. and John Mahaffey (Maggert missed his first SHO cut in 1987). The 46-year-old Maggert last won in 2006. In 2003, he led the Masters after three rounds, but hit into Rae’s Creek twice on Sunday. He’d love another shot at “Golden Bell.”

Lee Westwood looked to be cooked after a front-nine 41 in the third round. But he torched the inward nine in 31 for a ho-hum 72. He trails by three shots. Westwood last won on Tour in 1998. When you ask? The week before the Masters.

Those are just five of the 20 players within five strokes of the lead. Eight players among the top 14 have yet to secure their spot in the Masters field. Should be fun to see who can prove that winning in Houston is no problem.

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