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Shell Houston Open 2013: Day 2 Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

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Shell Houston Open 2013: Day 2 Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

While it's still possible that Rory McIlroy can end Tiger Woods' re-ascent to the world No. 1 ranking this weekend, the 23-year-old North Irishman continues to make life difficult for himself at the 2013 Shell Houston Open.

Flirting with the cut line for the entire day, McIlroy recovered somewhat from his dismal first round to shoot a two-under score of 70 and bring his score for the tournament to one under. On the precipice of being sent home late in the day, McIlroy carded two straight birdies on No. 15 and No. 16, which put him right on the cut line of one under.

The world's former top-ranked golfer sits in a tie for 54th place heading into the weekend and is nine shots behind leader Steve Wheatcroft, who carded his second straight score of 67 to lead the field at 10 under. 

Another notable mediocre score on Friday came from Phil Mickelson, but his day was anything but ordinary. In typical Lefty fashion, Mickelson got into red numbers early with a brilliant birdie on the fourth hole—only to subsequently squander it with an ugly score of six on the par-four fifth. He recovered nicely, stringing together three straight birdies on holes No. 11 through No. 13, but he flailed down the stretch and finished with a bogey. 

That disappointing finish gave Mickelson a 71 for the day, putting him alongside McIlroy at one under for the tournament. Mickelson and McIlroy are just two of a bevy of top-tier players struggling this week, as the leaderboard has names relatively unknown to the mainstream golf fan. 

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Wheatcroft, ever consistent throughout his rounds in Texas, was a Monday qualifier for the Shell Houston Open. The 35-year-old had five birdies without a bogey on Friday and sits alone atop the leaderboard. 

Behind Wheatcroft at nine under is the duo of Jason Kokrak and first-round darling D.A. Points. 

Kokrak has been eviscerating the ball off the tee, leading all competitors with a 317-yard average. That was especially beneficial to Kokrak on Friday, as he birdied each of the Red Stone Golf Club's four par-fives en route to a score of 69 for the day. The 27-year-old American, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour, looked like he was going to be the clubhouse leader heading into the weekend before double-bogeying the last hole.

Points, meanwhile, had just about the least adventurous possible for a golfer. He parred 17 of the 18 holes, getting a birdie on the 12th to keep him in red figures for the day. Also winless for his career, Points heads into the weekend in a good position thanks to his eight-under brilliance on Thursday. 

Thus far, it's been a two-day story of no-name golfers having the weeks of their lives. With McIlroy and Mickelson fading, one of these three men may wind up with their first PGA Tour victory come Sunday's final round. 

 

Highlights of the Day

Scott Langley won't be playing this weekend after just missing the cut line, but he can take solace in having arguably the shot of the day on No. 13. The 23-year-old American plays his lie perfectly here, taking advantage of the quick fairways to set up an easy put on the par-five:

Hole No. 13 was a hotbed of great shots on Friday, apparently. Martin Laird, like Langley, will be watching at home this weekend, but he had a wonderful chip here for eagle that gave him a shot at making the cut:

Just another eagle on No. 13—this one from a guy actually playing on Saturday. Jimmy Walker cups this shot from 93 yards out on three hops here and will go into the weekend in contention:

Here is some quintessential Mickelson to liven up your weekend. After hitting an errant drive into the fairway rough on No. 12, Lefty smacks a beautiful approach within three feet to tap in for birdie. He's just like us, folks—only the complete opposite:

While Stewart Cink did not hole out for eagle or make a difficult approach out of the rough, he played precision golf at its finest on Friday. He carded a six-under score that ascended him all the way to a tie for fourth place. On hole No. 12, he stops his approach on a dime to get within one foot for an easy tap-in for birdie:

 

Leaderboard

Place Player Score
1 Steve Wheatcroft  -10 
T2 Jason Kokrak  -9 

T2

D.A. Points

-9 

T4

Brian Davis

-7 

T4

Stewart Cink

-7 

T6

Angel Cabrera

-6

T6

Bill Haas

-6 

T6

Cameron Tringale

-6 

Other Notables

Place Player Score
T9 Dustin Johnson  -5 
T17 Lee Westwood  -4 

T54

Phil Mickelson

-1

T54

Rory McIlroy

-1 

Check out the full leaderboard at the PGA Tour's official website.


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