How it happened: Cink, Haas lead in Houston

Stewart Cink moved into a share of the lead during the third round of the 2013 Shell Houston Open.

Stewart Cink moved into a share of the lead during the third round of the 2013 Shell Houston Open.

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RBC Heritage

Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

10:36:14 PM ET. 04/20/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
1Matt Kuchar-7F-11
2Luke Donald-2F-10
T3Ben Martin-4F-9
T3John Huh-3F-9
T5Scott Brown-4F-7
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With course conditions designed to replicate what players will see at the Masters in two weeks, the Shell Houston Open gives many pros a chance to tune up for the season's first major.

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson barely made the cut Friday and played early Saturday. Each improved their standing after starting the day at 1 under, nine back of leader Steve Wheatcroft -- a Monday qualifier who posted a pair of 67s for a one-stroke lead after two rounds, and who still lurks within striking distance after a tough finish. Taking the lead by a stroke are Tour veterans Stewart Cink and Bill Haas, who were paired together for the third round and will play as partners again tomorrow in the tournament's final group.

Recap the day's action here:

• • •

Update 40: 5:49 ET

Steve Wheatcroft falls off the lead with a difficult 18th hole, leaving only Stewart Cink and Bill Haas at 11 under after three rounds of play. From a greenside bunker, Wheatcroft failed to get his ball from a downhill lie onto the putting surface, then needing a pitch to reach the green and sinking about a nine-foot bogey putt to finish at 10 under. Ben Crane and D.A. Points also are T-3 at 10 under – as is Jason Kokrak, who executes a nice sand save on the 18th to wrap up play Saturday.

Check back later at Golfweek.com for Sunday's tee times.

• • •

Update 39: 5:33 ET

Stewart Cink and Bill Haas are in the clubhouse at 11 under, after Cink executes a nice sand save for par on the 18th and playing partner Haas barely misses a birdie putt. One hole back, co-leader Steve Wheatcroft pars as does playing partner Jason Kokrak, who's a stroke back at 10 under with D.A. Points and Ben Crane (both of whom are in the clubhouse). Wheatcroft comes to the 18th with a chance to reclaim the lead outright, but will have to do so from the right rough as he and Kokrak both steer well clear of the water left and end up on the dry land around the cart path instead.

• • •

Update 38: 5:18 ET

Add D.A. Points back to the T-2 group at 10 under, thanks to his birdie at the 17th. Co-leader Bill Haas is staring at a birdie opportunity on the 18th, so we'll see if today's busy leaderboard is about to shuffle yet again.

• • •

Update 37: 4:54 ET

Add another co-leader to the mix: Bill Haas birdies the par-3 16th to joins playing partner Stewart Cink and second-round leader Steve Wheatcroft at 11 under. The trio is a stroke ahead of Ben Crane, in the clubhouse with a 67, and Jason Kokrak at 10 under.

• • •

Update 36: 4:43 ET

Steve Wheatcroft reclaims the lead with a birdie at the 13th to return to 11 under – and is caught by Stewart Cink, who birdies the 15th. Tremendous action atop the leaderboard in Houston, and it promises to continue down the stretch with Ben Crane, Bill Haas and Jason Kokrak a stroke back at 10 under, a number that several have reached today, and nine more at 9 under.

• • •

Update 35: 4:27 ET

Leader Stewart Cink finds the bunker at the par-3 14th, then misses his par putt to bring several players back into the lead – playing partner Bill Haas is one, after firing a dart at the pin and tapping in for birdie. Also at 10 under and tied for the lead: Ben Crane, D.A. Points and Steve Wheatcroft, the latter settling down with a pair of pars after two straight bogeys at the turn. Keegan Bradley bogeys the 18th to fall from the lead and end his day 9 under through three rounds.

• • •

Update 34: 4:17 ET

At the par-5 13th, Stewart Cink gives himself a makeable birdie putt but settles for par. Ben Crane moves into the T-2 group at 10 under, with a birdie putt at the par-3 16th. Kevin Chappell falls from T-2 after bogeying the 17th, as does Bill Haas with a bogey on the 13th – making 10 players who are T-5 at 9 under.

• • •

Update 33: 4:09 ET

Let's recap the rounds of the six golfers atop the leaderboard in Houston:

Stewart Cink: Leader at 11 under. Moved out front by collecting four birdies during a stretch from the 7th to 12th holes.

Steve Wheatcroft: The second-round leader was keeping pace until tripping up with bogeys at the 9th and 10th, followed by a par at 11.

D.A. Points: The first-round leader is 1 under today, with a bogey at the 2nd followed by birdies at the 5th and 8th; barely missed a birdie opportunity at the 12th.

Bill Haas: Like Cink, got hot mid-round – with five birdies in six holes from the 6th to 11th.

Kevin Chappell: Mixing birdies and pars has him 6 under and bogey free through 16, but scrambling on the 17th.

Keegan Bradley: Bogey-free through 17, with six birdies – four on the back nine.

• • •

Update 32: 4:01 ET

That didn't last long. Stewart Cink birdies the par-4 12th hole to break free from a group of six co-leaders, moving into the lead alone at 11 under.

• • •

Update 31: 3:57 ET

Steve Wheatcroft follows his first bogey of the day with an errant drive into a hazard, his ball landing in the sand alongside a rock; he takes a drop. His approach shot finds the center of the green and two putts gives him a bogey. Wheatcroft is co-leader with Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Kevin Chappell, Bill Haas and D.A. Points. Lee Westwood drops out of the 10-under group with a 3-putt bogey at No. 17.

• • •

Update 30: 3:46 ET

Leader Steve Wheatcroft gives a stroke back to the field, his first bogey of the day coming on No. 9 after missing the green right and failing to get up and down. He's now one up on D.A. Points, Jason Kokrak, Lee Westwood and Stewart Cink – the latter of whom has joined the T-2 bunch at 10 under with a birdie at No. 11.

• • •

Update 29: 3:38 ET

Lee Westwood is charging hard now. Only a par at No. 14 has kept him from stringing together six straight birdies from Nos. 11-16. He's five under on the back nine and among three golfers T-2 at 10 under.

• • •

Update 28: 3:16 ET

D.A. Points also is maintaining his place near the top of the leaderboard. A birdie at the eighth moves him to 10 under, tied with Kokrak two shots behind Wheatcroft.

• • •

Update 27: 3:05 ET

Ben Crane has birdied three of his past four holes (Nos. 7, 8 and 10) and is making a move up the leaderboard. He is only three shots off of Wheatcroft's lead.

• • •

Update 26: 2:55 ET

Kokrak misses his par putt of about 10 feet at the sixth hole and drops to 10 under, two shots behind Wheatcroft.

• • •

Update 25: 2:50 ET

Dustin Johnson holed a long putt at the ninth for a second consecutive birdie. He turns in 1-under 35, and is 6 under for the tournament, tied for 15th.

• • •

Update 24: 2:37 ET

Kokrak still chasing Wheatcroft. Kokrak birdied the fifth to get to 11 under, one shot behind Wheatcroft, who birdied the fourth to get to 12 under.

• • •

Update 23: 2:28 ET

Cameron Tringale has birdied three of his last four holes to get to 3 under through six holes. Tringale is 9 under for the tournament, in a share of third.

• • •

Update 22: 2:16 ET

Jason Kokrak hanging tightly to the top of the leaderboard. With a birdie at No. 3, Kokrak breaks into solo second, one shot behind Wheatcroft. Both are looking for their first PGA Tour victory.

• • •

Update 21: 2:06 ET

Oosthuizen is in the clubhouse with a 65, which ties Cauley for low round of the day. Oothuizen had seven birdies and no bogeys in his third round, and is tied for second at 9 under.

• • •

Update 24: 1:54 ET

Wheatcroft taking advantage of good scoring conditions, too. He made birdie from about 4 feet at the second hole to get to 11 under for the tournament.

• • •

Update 23: 1:45 ET

Wheatcroft has parred his first hole to remain at 10 under, and Cauley is in the clubhouse with a third-round 65, which leaves him 9 under for the tournament. Cauley's round is the lowest so far today, but Louis Oosthuizen is 7 under through 16 holes. He currently is tied for second with Cauley.

• • •

Update 22: 1:32 ET

The final group is off the first tee, and that includes leader Steve Wheatcroft. This the first PGA Tour lead of his career.

Meanwhile, Bud Cauley is coming down No. 18, and could tie Wheatcroft's 10-under lead with a birdie.

• • •

Update 21: 1:17 ET

Bud Cauley has nearly caught Wheatcroft. Cauley made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to get to 7 under for the day, 9 under for the tournament.

Chez Reavie and Louis Oosthuizen are the other big movers from the morning wave. Both players are 5 under today, and 7 under for the tournament.

• • •

Update 20: 1:07 ET

McIlroy curled in a long bogey putt at the 18th and posted a third-round 71. He was 4 under for the day after 12, but closed with three bogeys. He is 2 under for the tournament.

• • •

Update 19: 1:03 ET

Cauley continues to make a big push up the leaderboard. He just birdied No. 15, his seventh birdie of the day, and now is at 7 under for the tournament. That puts him three shots behind Wheatcroft.

• • •

Update 18: 12:58 ET

Mickelson is in with a third-round 67 after making birdie on five of his last seven holes. It moves him up to a tie for ninth. He is 6 under for the tournament, which is four shots behind leader Steve Wheatcroft.

• • •

Update 17: 12:49 ET

McIlroy hasn't been able to make any birdies since dropping down the leaderboard with bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14. He was in contention when he was 4 under through 12, but he likely isn't going to factor into the final round in Houston.

• • •

Update 16: 12:40 ET

More third-round scores are coming in. D.H. Lee had back-nine birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 15 and finished with a 68. He is T-12. Mickelson also is T-12, and 4 under today with one hole remaining.

• • •

Update 15: 12:27 ET

Phil Mickelson's back nine has been colorful. Mickelson birdied Nos. 12 and 13, bogeyed 14, then birdied 15 and 16. He is 4 under today and 5 under for the tournament. That puts him in a tie for 12th.

McIlroy, meanwhile, has fallen off the pace with bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14. He's back down to T-41.

• • •

Update 14: 12:12 ET

Players in the starting groups are beginning to finish their rounds. Steve Bowditch and Jin Park, who started at 7:30 a.m. ET, are both in the clubhouse with rounds of 3-under 69. Bowditch had just three birdies, while Park had five birdies and two bogeys.

• • •

Update 13: 12:00 ET

McIlroy just birdied the 12th hole to get to 5 under for the tournament. That puts him in the top 10 on the leaderboard, five shots behind leader Steve Wheatcroft, whose tee time is still a little more than an hour away.

• • •

Update 12: 11:47 ET

Bud Cauley dropped a shot with a bogey at No. 9, and made the turn in 3-under 33. D.H. Lee has climbed into a share of ninth with Cauley. He is 4 under through 15 holes today. Both are 5 under for the tournament.

• • •

Update 11: 11:33 ET

McIlroy pars the 10th hole and remains tied for 20th. Mickelson just birdied No. 12 to get to T-37.

• • •

Update 10: 11:24 ET

Bud Cauley is 4 under through seven holes, and creeping closer and closer to leader Steve Wheatcroft (at 10 under), who tees off in about two hours.

• • •

Update 9: 11:17 ET

McIlroy makes the turn with a 3-under 33, and remains in a share of 20th. Mickelson hasn't made up as much ground. He is still 1 under for the day (through 10 holes), and tied for 50th.

• • •

Update 8: 11:05 ET

McIlroy has made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 7 and 8, and now is up to T-20. He is 4 under for the tournament, and now six shots off the lead.

• • •

Update 7: 10:54 ET

Bud Cauley is another player to watch. He has made three birdies in his opening five holes, and is up 29 spots to T-9.

• • •

Update 6: 10:47 ET

Mickelson and McIlroy are tied for 49th right now. Mickelson just made a bogey at No. 8 to fall back to 2 under for the tournament. McIlroy is continuing to cruise through the third round without birdies. He hasn't made one since No. 2.

• • •

Update 5: 10:40 ET

After a bogey at No. 4, Charlie Beljan has birdied three of the past four holes to get to 3 under for his round (he also birdied No. 2). Two groups behind him, Cameron Percy is 3 under through seven holes. Both at part of a tie for 19th.

• • •

Update 4: 10:33 ET

Another birdie at No. 7 takes Phil Mickelson to 2 under for the day, 3 under for the tournament. He's making a steady, albeit slow, climb up the leaderboard.

• • •

Update 3: 10:27 ET

Keep an eye on Chez Reavie. He just made eagle at the par-4 third to get to 3 under today. He is up 29 spots on the leaderboard, to a tie for ninth. Jin Park is another big mover so far today. He is 3 under through nine holes and up 35 spots to T-19.

• • •

Update 2: 10:17 ET

Mickelson is staying consistent on his front nine. After his opening birdie, he has had four pars. McIlroy is playing similarly. After a birdie on his second hole, he has carded two more pars.

• • •

Update 1: 9:47 ET

Phil Mickelson opens with a birdie, then follows up with two pars and is at 2 under for the tournament. Two groups back, Rory McIlroy starts off with a par and follows with a birdie at No. 2, also moving to 2 under.

• • •

Friday's best

With the few players on the course this morning even par for their rounds for now, let's take a look at the low scores of the second round:

• Stewart Cink, 66: The best round of the day brought him to within three of the lead.

• Steve Wheatcroft, 67: His second 67 in a row put him in the lead by one over D.A Points and Jason Kokrak.

• Josh Teater, 67: On the heels of a 2-over 74, his strong Friday effort got him inside the cut line with two strokes to spare.

• Peter Tomasulo, 67: After an opening-round 82, it wasn't enough to make the cut despite shaving 15 strokes off his score overnight.

• • •

Tee times

7:30 a.m. CDT: Steven Bowditch, Jin Park

7:38 a.m.: D.H. Lee, Daniel Summerhays

7:46 a.m.: George Coetzee, Nicholas Thompson

7:54 a.m.: Charlie Beljan, Justin Leonard

8:02 a.m.: Harris English, Phil Mickelson

8:10 a.m.: Cameron Percy, Chris Stroud

8:18 a.m.: Jerry Kelly, Rory McIlroy

8:26 a.m.: Carl Pettersson, Kevin Stadler

8:34 a.m.: Chad Campbell, James Hahn

8:42 a.m.: Bud Cauley, Pat Perez

8:50 a.m.: Tim Herron, Chez Reavie

8:58 a.m.: Russell Henley, Louis Oosthuizen

9:06 a.m.: Brandt Jobe, David Lynn

9:14 a.m.: Kelly Kraft, Henrik Norlander

9:22 a.m.: Ross Fisher, Doug LaBelle II

9:30 a.m.: Graham DeLaet, Jordan Spieth

9:39 a.m.: Troy Matteson, Gary Woodland

9:48 a.m.: Brendan Steele, Nick Watney

9:57 a.m.: Aaron Baddeley, Chris Kirk

10:06 a.m.: Charles Howell III, Matt Jones

10:15 a.m.: Ricky Barnes, Robert Streb

10:24 a.m.: Greg Owen, Wes Short, Jr.

10:33 a.m.: Steve Stricker, Josh Teater

10:42 a.m.: Jeff Overton, Scott Verplank

10:51 a.m.: John Merrick, Lee Westwood

11:00 a.m.: Bob Estes, Billy Horschel

11:09 a.m.: Keegan Bradley, Hunter Haas

11:18 a.m.: Kevin Chappell, Boo Weekley

11:27 a.m.: Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker

11:36 a.m.: Ben Crane, Brendon de Jonge

11:45 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson

11:54 a.m.: John Rollins, Scott Stallings

12:03 p.m.: Angel Cabrera, Cameron Tringale

12:12 p.m.: Stewart Cink, Bill Haas

12:21 p.m.: Brian Davis, D.A. Points

12:30 p.m.: Jason Kokrak, Steve Wheatcroft

• • •

Morning weather

Temperatures should be nearly perfect -- 66 at 7:10 local time, with a forecast to reach the high 70s. It could be breezy, with 17 mph winds in the early going, but they're forecast to calm a bit.

• • •

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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