Tracker: Haas, Hoffman fires 66s for Houston lead

Rory McIlroy during the first round of the Shell Houston Open.

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Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Las Vegas, NV - TPC Summerlin

8:08:31 AM ET. 10/20/2014




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1Ben Martin-3F-20
2Kevin Streelman-6F-18
3Russell Knox-1F-16
T4Webb Simpson-3F-15
T4Brooks Koepka-3F-15
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Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman grabbed a share of the first-round lead at the Shell Houston Open, but those weren't the only low numbers recorded Thursday at the Golf Club of Houston.

Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar shot bogey-free 66s while Phil Mickelson was blemish-free in shooting a 68.

Here's how it happened:

• • •

Update No. 22: 6:59 p.m. EDT

Charley Hoffman birdies No. 17 to pull into a tie for the lead with Bill Haas at 7 under. Hoffman, a UNLV product looking for his first win since 2010, is 4 under since the turn and is bogey-free today.

• • •

Update No. 21: 6:27 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas went 5 under in his last six holes to wrap up a 7-under 65, which gives him the clubhouse lead at the moment. Erik Compton also just finished his round, a 66 that has him tied for second.

• • •

Update No. 20: 6:04 p.m. EDT

Some new faces have joined Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley and J.B. Holmes in the lead at 6 under:

  • Erik Compton, 6 under through 17 holes
  • Bill Haas, 6 under through 16 holes
  • Charley Hoffman, 6 under through 13 holes

• • •

Update No. 19: 5:23 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy birdies the par-5 13th but then adds a bogey at the par-3 14th. He's still 2 under, now through 14 holes. Also, Steve Stricker has moved to 3 under through 13 holes thanks to two birdies in his last three holes.

• • •

Update No. 18: 4:47 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy misses his first fairway and first green of the day at the par-4 11th, and a missed 5-footer for par gives him his first bogey. He's now 2 under.

• • •

Update No. 17: 4:15 p.m. EDT

Not sure if he would even play this week after withdrawing from the Texas Open with a pulled oblique muscle, Phil Mickelson came out this morning and shot a bogey-free, 4-under 68. Check out the above video for his highlights from today (mobile users can view it here).

• • •

Update No. 16: 4:09 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy makes the turn in 3 under par and he's yet to miss a fairway or a green. He's three shots off the lead and is among the lowest players on the course right now at 3 under, which is also where Ian Poulter is through nine holes.

• • •

Update No. 15: 3:32 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy sticks his approach shot at the par-4 sixth hole to about 10 feet and makes birdie to move to 2 under.

• • •

Update No. 14: 2:58 p.m. EDT

A two-putt birdie at the par-5 fourth moves Rory McIlroy to 1 under. While McIlroy is still early in his first round, check out this funny video from last year where McIlroy takes on a robot on the driving range (mobile users can watch it here):

McIlroy has been robot-like off the tee today, hitting his first five fairways.

• • •

Update No. 13: 2:50 p.m. EDT

Right now, 65 players are under par. Dustin Johnson isn't one of them. Johnson is in last place at 5 over. He has two double bogeys and a bogey in his first five holes.

• • •

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

Rory McIlroy is even par through three holes this afternoon after pars at Nos. 1-3. He is the favorite among Golfweek's experts to win this week, too.

Click here to view this week's expert picks for the Shell Houston Open.

Also at even par early in their first rounds are Hunter Mahan, Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker, among others.

• • •

Update No. 11: 2:29 p.m. EDT

J.B. Holmes has three birdies in his last four holes, including most recently at the par-5 eighth hole, and he's joined Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar in the lead at 6 under.

• • •

Update No. 10: 1:48 p.m. EDT

Some good morning rounds put together by some big names. Here are some notables:

  • Keegan Bradley, 6-under 66
  • Matt Kuchar, 6-under 66
  • Phil Mickelson, 4-under 68
  • Ernie Els, 4-under 68
  • Webb Simpson, 4-under 68
  • Ryo Ishikawa, 3-under 69

• • •

Update No. 9: 12:54 p.m. EDT

Angel Cabrera looks to be finding his form just in time for the Masters. He's 4 under through 14 holes today, two shots back of leaders Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar. Cabrera enters this week with six missed cuts in seven starts this season.

• • •

Update No. 8: 12:22 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson birdies the par-5 fourth hole to move to 3 under. That means that the pairing of Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson is a combined 11 under through 13 holes today.

• • •

Update No. 7: 12:05 p.m. EDT

Andrew Loupe, who tied for fourth last week in San Antonio, has four birdies in his last five holes, and is 4 under through eight holes today, two shots back of leader Matt Kuchar.

• • •

Update No. 6: 11:32 a.m. EDT

Matt Kuchar follows Keegan Bradley's lead and birdies the par-4 first hole to move into a share of the lead with Bradley at 5 under.

• • •

Update No. 5: 11:21 a.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson closes his front nine with a birdie at the par-4 18th and he's now 2 under through 10 holes. His playing competitor, Keegan Bradley, though, is 5 under through 10 holes after his fifth birdie of the day, at the par-4 first hole.

• • •

Update No. 4: 11:01 a.m. EDT

Keegan Bradley stick his approach inside of 10 feet at the par-4 17th and makes birdie, his fourth in five holes, to move to 4 under. He leads outright and has another birdie putt upcoming at the par-4 18th.

• • •

Update No. 3: 10:46 a.m. EDT

FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker is 2 under through seven holes this morning. Walker, who has three victories this season, hasn't won since Feb. 9. But he hasn't played badly with four top-25 finishes in four starts since his last victory.

• • •

Update No. 2: 10:33 a.m. EDT

Keegan Bradley is now tied for the lead at 3 under with Matt Kuchar and Joe Ogilvie. Bradley birdied the par-5 15th after finding the green in two shots. He then made a 40-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th. His playing competitor, Phil Mickelson, made par on those two holes to remain 1 under and bogey-free through seven holes.

• • •

Update No. 1: 10:18 a.m. EDT

A birdie at the par-4 12th hole has Phil Mickelson 1 under through five holes this morning. He's just one shot off the early lead held by eight players, including Matt Kuchar.

• • •

Preview coverage

• Expert picks: R. McIlroy a heavy favorite at Shell Houston Open

This week's Shell Houston Open features some of the game's elite, including Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Keegan Bradley. It could even have Phil Mickelson, depending on how his pulled muscle has healed. And our panel of experts have taken notice of the stars this week.

D.A. Points brings ancient Ping i5 irons to Houston

The divots that D.A. Points creates on the driving range are each about the size of a playing card and about a half-inch deep. After he has finished hitting a bag of balls, the grid of dirt that remains is testament to his consistency. The clubs that make those divots, his Ping i5 irons, helped the former University of Illinois star win last season's Shell Houston Open. What makes them unique is their age.

Notes: P. Mickelson's audible; D. Toms' slump; more

As always, there’s a story behind the story. In the case of Phil Mickelson missing the pro-am at the Shell Houston Open, for instance, well, no need to point fingers and make a case out of it. It’s the way the sponsors want it. In fact, it’s the way they had it last year, too. And another time before that. Sponsors reserve the right “to shift a player out of the pro-am for another sponsor function,” said a tournament director, and that’s the case with Mickelson at Houston.

PGA Tour players discuss pre-Masters no-shows

When you win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the big prize is an audience with the man himself. The exorbitant check – this year being $1,116,000 – that comes with it is due in large part to the man who has spent the majority of his 84 years building the PGA Tour into what it is. So an inquiring mind can’t be blamed for wondering: What would have happened had Matt Every, after making the recent API his first win, thanked Palmer, then said: “Oh, and by the way, I’m withdrawing from next week’s tournament."

Change at the top defines first half of PGA Tour season

With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson struggling, the 2013-14 PGA Tour season has not turned out like many observers would have thought. Woods has played in only three Tour events and has not been close to winning this year, while Mickelson, who withdrew with an injury during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, also has struggled. With only one more week before the Masters, the season’s first major championship, the two most important headliners in golf are questionable.

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