How it happened: Wheatcroft leads in Houston

Steve Wheatcroft during the second round of the Shell Houston Open.

Steve Wheatcroft during the second round of the Shell Houston Open.

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RBC Heritage

Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

12:13:29 PM ET. 04/20/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
1Luke DonaldE -8
2John HuhE -6
T3Charl SchwartzelE -5
T3Nicholas ThompsonE -5
T3Jim FurykE -5
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While Rory McIlroy narrowly made it into the weekend after his second-round, 2-under 70, the story after the first two rounds is Steve Wheatcroft, the Monday qualifier who leads the Shell Houston Open at 10 under.

He shot his second straight 5-under 67 and leads Jason Kokrak and D.A. Points by a shot entering Saturday.

McIlroy's playing competitors, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley, also shot 70 Friday, and both are in contention entering the weekend at 5 under and 4 under, respectively. Steve Stricker's 68 helped him finish the first two rounds at 3 under. He made the cut, too, as did Phil Mickelson.

But on the other end of things, Brandt Snedeker could only move to 1 over after a 71 on Friday. He, along with defending champion Hunter Mahan, missed the cut.

Here's how it all unfolded:

• • •

Update No. 46: 7:57 p.m. EDT

Cameron Tringale pars No. 9 to wrap up his day with a 1-over 73, T-6 at 6-under. A hole back, Boo Weekley birdies to move to 5 under and Jeff Overton remains 4 under with a par.

Around the cut line, Daniel Summerhays and Jin Park are still on the course at 1 under, while D.H. Lee and Steven Bowditch are even par with one and two holes left to play respectively.

• • •

Update No. 45: 7:47 p.m. EDT

Angel Cabrera wraps up his day with a par at No. 9 for a 72 that puts him at 6 under. A hole back, Cameron Tringale fires a wedge to about six feet, then two-putts to remain 6 under. Boo Weekley and Jeff Overton par No. 7 to remain 4 under with two to play.

• • •

Update No. 44: 7:21 p.m. EDT

The top of the leaderboard is nearly set, as Stewart Cink pars No. 18 to cap his 66 and D.A. Points bogeys for an even-par 72. That puts Points alone in 3rd at 8 under, two back of leader Steve Wheatcroft, and Cink T-4 at 7 under.

The low men on the course right now: Angel Cabrera and Cameron Tringale at 6 under, with one and two holes left to play respectively. They're the only two who are likely to work their way into the top five going into Saturday's third round. Behind them, it drops to Boo Weekley and Jeff Overton, both 4 under with three to play.

• • •

Update No. 43: 7:08 p.m. EDT

Among players still on the course and hovering around the cut line, which stands at 1 under:

• 2 under: Tim Herron, Bud Cauley, Daniel Summerhays.

• 1 under: Scott Langley, Nicholas Thompson, Chez Reavie, Jin Park.

• Even: Retief Goosen, David Hearn, George Coetzee, D.H. Lee, Steven Bowditch.

• 1 over: Ben Curtis, Martin Laird, Joey Snyder III, Brad Fritsch.

• • •

Update No. 42: 6:58 p.m. EDT

Having made par at No. 17, Stewart Cink chases the low round of the day; another par would give him the day's best round at 6 under. Leader Steve Wheatcroft posted a 5-under 67, as did Josh Teater (T-26) – and, interestingly enough, Peter Tomasulo, who will miss the cut at 5 over.

• • •

Update No. 41: 6:43 p.m. EDT

Stewart Cink cashes in his birdie attempt on No. 15 to move to 6 under on the day and follows with a par, which puts him at 7 under and T-4.

Jason Kokrak pars his final hole to card a 69, good for 9 under through two rounds and just a stroke back of leader Steve Wheatcroft.

Also of note, the cut line has moved back to even par, giving Phil Mickelson a little breathing room again as he's 1 under.

• • •

Update No. 40: 6:29 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson sure has a penchant for interesting developments around the greens. His first chip, a bump-and-run, doesn't reach the green and rolls back down the hill. His second attempt then runs a couple of feet past. Mickelson's bogey putt then falls and he finishes 1 under. Should be good enough, but with the cut line back to 1 under, it's not a certainty just yet.

Near the top of the leaderboard, Jason Kokrak birdies No. 8 to tie first-round leader D.A. Points for second at 9 under. He's got a hole to play, Points three. Stewart Cink, on the par-5 No. 15, wedges his third shot to within about 4 feet.

• • •

Update No. 39: 6:21 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson has left himself in a tough spot on the No. 18 green, as his approach shot did not hold the green and the pin is tight to the back. At 2 under, he can likely make the cut with a bogey, but any finish uglier than that could make things interesting if the cut line moves off even par.

Near the top of the leaderboard, Stewart Cink has steadily treated Friday as if it's "moving day." He's 5 under with nothing but birdies and pars, and tackling the par-5 No. 15 hole.

• • •

Update No. 38: 5:59 p.m. EDT

Jason Kokrak breaks out of the group at T-3 with a birdie at No. 6 to go to 8 under and stands alone in third with three holes to play. Phil Mickelson takes an aggressive line at the par-3 No. 16 hole and is rewarded with a solid opportunity for birdie, which he misses to remain 2 under and two strokes clear of the expected cut line – which has moved to even par – with two holes to play.

A note from outside the ropes: Rory McIlroy has committed to play in next week's Valero Texas Open, the PGA Tour has announced via Twitter.

• • •

Update No. 37: 5:43 p.m. EDT

Let's recap how the players atop the leaderboard have gotten there today:

Leader, Steve Wheatcroft, 10 under: His second 67 in as many days shows he's taking advantage of the well-manicured course that seeks to replicate conditions at Augusta National.

2nd, D.A. Points, 9 under: He birdies No. 12, his first score other than par, to go 1 under for the day and pull within a stroke of the lead.

T-3, Brian Davis, 7 under: Birdies at Nos. 7 and 13 gave him a 2-under 70 Friday.

T-3, Bud Cauley, 7 under: Birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 15 have him 3 under through 10 today.

T-3, Jason Kokrak, 7 under: A birdie at No. 4 got him 1 under on the day after a double-bogey on No. 17 wiped out his first two birdies; he's played 14 holes.

• • •

Update No. 36: 5:27 p.m. EDT

Brendan De Jonge is playing well right now. He gave himself a solid birdie opportunity at No. 15 and had the line on the putt, but it stopped short. At the par-3 No. 16, he got aggressive with his tee shot – just clearing the right-side bunker and earning a birdie chance from about six feet, from where he makes par. This on the heels of birdies at Nos. 9, 11 and 13, putting him T-6 at 6 under and in the form it takes to go still lower on the last two holes of the day.

• • •

Update No. 35: 5:17 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson can't get comfortable yet as he tries to avoid an MC today. On the par-5 no. 13, he starts by missing the fairway from the tee box, then hits a fine recovery shot short of the green but in the throat. He then pitches to about 3 feet. He sinks the putt to give himself an insurance run, to borrow a baseball term, and moves to 2 under (with the cut line still at 1 under).

Geoff Ogilvy, chasing a Masters invite today, misses the fairway with his drive just as Mickelson did. But a long three-putt moves him back to 5 over. A costly 7 on the par-3 No. 7 hole earlier could leave him trying to win next week for the final invitation to Augusta.

• • •

Update No. 34: 5:08 p.m. EDT

The pressure is mounting on Ogilvy in his bid this week to secure an OWGR Top 50 bid to play in The Masters. Part of the reason is this: Two golfers who are ranked just behind him are playing well this week.

Henrik Stenson, ranked No. 53, will make the cut and is in the clubhouse at 5 under, standing T-12. Charles Howell III, ranked No. 57, started shakily today with three bogeys in his first five holes – but four birdies in his last six has him 4 under with five holes left to play today and looking like a safe bet to play this weekend. Luke Guthrie, however, is unlikely to threaten from his No. 58 ranking, as he's in the clubhouse at 7 over.

Ogilvy has to be lamenting the missed short birdie putt on No. 12, which could have pulled him within two of the cut line. We'll see how he reacts down the stretch of his second round.

• • •

Update No. 33: 4:55 p.m. EDT

The putters didn't get much of a workout in Phil Mickelson's group at No. 12: All three men stuck their approach shots close to the back-left pin. Perhaps most imporantly, Mickelson makes a birdie putt of about 3 feet to get inside the cut line at 1 under. Defending champ Hunter Mahan had the longest putt, about 9 feet, and failed to convert, as did Geoff Ogilvy from about 3 feet.

• • •

Update No. 32: 4:42 p.m. EDT

Near the top of the leaderboard, D.A. Points' gets a green in regulation at No. 8 and two putts for par. And Cameron Tringale makes a birdie putt at No. 16 to tie Points for second. Bud Cauley just misses out on a second-straight birdie and remains 7 under.

Meanwhile, just below the cut line, Phil Mickelson makes a 7-footer for birdie on No. 11 after a fine drive and solid approach shot. He's even par, one shot outside what it takes to play Saturday.

• • •

Update No. 31: 4:34 p.m. EDT

A couple of notable birdies around the cut line: Bo Van Pelt birdies No. 18 to get to even par, within a stroke of the projected cut as he makes the turn. Meanwhile, Charles Howell III makes one at No. 11 to give himself some breathing room and move to 3 under.

• • •

Update No. 30: 4:27 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson's quest to make the cut has led to his taking aim – successfully – at a tight front pin on No. 10. About 6 feet out, he misses his second putt in a row and stays 1 over. Playing partner Geoff Ogilvy, trying to stay in the top 50 in the OWGR to earn an invitation to Augusta National, also pars. Rounding out the threesome, Hunter Mahan has further to go to make the cut, but sank a 12-footer for par to improve to 2 over.

• • •

Update No. 29: 4:22 p.m. EDT

Let's recap how yesterday's leaderboard is looking today:

D.A. Points, 8 under Thursday: Even par through seven holes after lagging a long birdie attempt on No. 7, he's still 8 under, good for 2nd.

Cameron Tringale, 7 under Thursday: Even par through five holes, he's still 7 under, good for T3.

John Rollins, 7 under Thursday: Finished with a 2-over 74 today and stands T-9 at 5 under.

Angel Cabrera, 6 under Thursday: 1 under through 6 and tied for third.

Jason Kokrak, 6 under Thursday: Even par through 10 and tied for sixth.

• • •

Update No. 28: 4:07 p.m. EDT

Geoff Ogilvy gives himself a needed birdie opportunity at the par-3 No 9 – and converts. He's No. 50 in the world and needs to stay there to get into the Masters in two weeks – but at 4 over for the day after making his putt, the worse his finish gets the worse his odds of getting into the field at Augusta as well.

Meanwhile, playing partner Phil Mickelson plays a deft bunker shot at No. 9 – then misses a short putt and at 1 over is now two strokes on the wrong side of the cut line. That's the second time today that Mickelson has carded a birdie, only to give back the progress.

• • •

Update No. 27: 3:56 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson (1 over) and Hunter Mahan (3 over) are both struggling so far, 1 over through seven holes today for the two.

• • •

Update No. 26: 3:28 p.m. EDT

Since a T-8 at Humana, Jason Kokrak has missed four cuts, withdrawn from the Farmers and finished 79th at the Northern Trust. He's off to a good start here in Houston, though. He's tied for second at 8 under and is 2 under through seven holes today.

• • •

Update No. 25: 3:12 p.m. EDT

And just like that, Phil Mickelson gives the stroke he gained with his previous birdie back – actually, he gives two shots back as he double-bogeys the par-4 fifth hole to drop to 1 over.

• • •

Update No. 24: 3 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson moves to 1 under after a birdie at the par-5 fourth. Also, Hunter Mahan has fallen back to 3 over. He's 1 over through four holes today.

• • •

Update No. 23: 2:36 p.m. EDT

First-round leader D.A. Points pars his opening hole, but he's now two back of leader Steve Wheatcroft, who is 10 under overall and has four holes left today. Also, Phil Mickelson (Even) has started his round with three straight pars.

• • •

Update No. 22: 2:10 p.m. EDT

Monday qualifier Steve Wheatcroft has a two-shot edge on the field at 10 under thanks to three straights birdies at Nos. 2-4. He's 5 under through 13 holes today.

• • •

Update No. 21: 2:02 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson makes par on the opening hole, No. 1. He's even for the tournament, so he'll likely need an under-par round to make the cut.

• • •

Update No. 20: 1:43 p.m. EDT

Steve Wheatcroft is 4 under through 12 holes today to move into the solo lead at 9 under.

• • •

Update No. 19: 1:39 p.m. EDT

Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley each birdie the par-3 ninth to finish off 2-under 70s. Johnson enters the weekend at 5 under while Bradley enters it at 4 under. Also, Rory McIlroy pars the hole to finish off a 70 of his own. He's 1 under overall and is projected to make the cut at the moment.

• • •

Update No. 18: 1:31 p.m. EDT

Huge birdie from Rory McIlroy at the par-5 eighth hole. That moves him to 1 under overall and inside the projected cut line. The cut line could potentially move to 2 under, although 1 under or even worse seems more likely. But a birdie on his final hole, No. 9, would only help Rory.

• • •

Update No. 17: 1:25 p.m. EDT

Steve Wheatcroft just birdied the par-4 second hole to move into a tie for the lead at 8 under. The Monday qualifier is 3 under on the round.

• • •

Update No. 16: 1:13 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy has made five straight pars to stay at even, but the projected cut has moved to 1 under. McIlroy has just two holes left, too.

• • •

Update No. 15: 12:52 p.m. EDT

While Rory McIlroy can't take advantage of the par-4 sixth and remains at even par overall, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson both birdie the hole to move to 4 under.

• • •

Update No. 14: 12:32 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas has two birdies in his last three holes, including most recently at the par-5 fourth hole, to move to 7 under overall, 3 under on the round. Also, Dustin Johnson just birdied No. 4 to move to 4 under.

• • •

Update No. 13: 12:13 p.m. EDT

Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy all make par at the par-4 third hole. Bradley had just made birdie at No. 2 to move to 3 under overall. Johnson is also 3 under while McIlroy remains at even.

• • •

Update No. 12: 11:53 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy bogeys the par-4 second hole for the second straight day, and as a result drops back to even par. The projected cut is even at the moment.

• • •

Update No. 11: 11:35 a.m. EDT

Monday qualifier Steve Wheatcroft had a stretch of eight birdies in 10 holes on Thursday. He's 1 under through four holes today to move to 6 under for the tournament, two back of the lead.

• • •

Update No. 10: 11:29 a.m. EDT

Josh Teater is 5 under through 12 holes today to work his way from 2 over to 3 under.

• • •

Update No. 9: 11:11 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy makes the turn at 1 under overall. His back nine included two birdies and no bogeys. He was 3 over on the front nine on Thursday, so he'll look to avoid similar results today.

• • •

Update No. 8: 11:05 a.m. EDT

Jordan Spieth, who played college golf at the University of Texas, is 2 under through five holes today after carding an even-par 72 on Thursday.

• • •

Update No. 7: 10:34 a.m. EDT

Make that a second straight birdie for Rory McIlroy, who birdies the par-3 16th to move to 1 under overall. That was also his first birdie on a par-3 this tournament.

• • •

Update No. 6: 10:22 a.m. EDT

And Rory McIlroy is back to even par for the tournament. McIlroy notched his first birdie of the day, making birdie for the second straight round at the par-5 15th.

• • •

Update No. 5: 10:01 a.m. EDT

Five straight pars to begin the second round for Rory McIlroy. It's not the worst thing, but for McIlroy, who figures to be flirting with the cut line, he needs some birdies to start dropping. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson got his first birdie of the round to fall as he makes birdie at the par-5 13th to move to 4 under overall.

• • •

Update No. 4: 9:50 a.m. EDT

John Rollins' first bogey of the tournament, coming at the par-3 14th, drops him back to 7 under overall, one shot behind leader D.A. Points (8 under), who will tee off at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

• • •

Update No. 3: 9:36 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy is even through three holes after making par at the par-4 12th. He was 2 under on Nos. 10-12 on Thursday. Also, Keegan Bradley has dropped to 1 under overall after a bogey at the par-4 11th.

• • •

Update No. 2: 9:13 a.m. EDT

It's par at the par-4 10th for Rory McIlroy (1 over), who is starting on the back nine today. He made four birdies – his only birdies of the round – on the back nine on Thursday.

• • •

Update No. 1: 9:09 a.m. EDT

It's early, but already D.A. Points' outright lead is no more. John Rollins is 1 under through three holes today to join Points at 8 under.

• • •

Thursday coverage

TRACKER: Rory McIlroy shot 1-over 73 in his first competitive round since losing his World No. 1 ranking to Tiger Woods. He trails leader D.A. Points by nine shots at the Shell Houston Open. See how it all unfolded.

• • •

Pre-tournament coverage

TEE TIMES: Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Rory McIlroy will make up the featured group for the first two rounds at the Shell Houston Open. Check out the tee times.

QUESTIONS ARISE: Vijay Singh, who has said he used deer-antler spray containing a substance banned by the PGA Tour, offered no explanation for his withdrawal from this week's Shell Houston Open. Story.

FAMILIAR DIGS: Already back on the path to success in European competition, Paul Casey returns to the place where he peaked on the PGA Tour looking for another big step forward. Story.

PREDICTIONS: While Keegan Bradley is the cumulative favorite this week by our fantasy panel, but it is one pick that stands out: Rory McIlroy. Is the World No. 2 ready to return to the winner's circle? Picks.

WORTH A THOUGHT: Surely, Tiger Woods is at the forefront of golf fans' minds after his winning week in Orlando -- but this week, thoughts turn to Rory McIlroy in Houston. Notebook.

A FRIENDLY PUSH: Rory McIlroy heads to this week's Shell Houston Open no longer the world's No. 1 golfer, having ceded the spot to Tiger Woods, but he takes it as a natural, cyclical downturn. Story.

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