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Monday Qualifier Wheatcroft leads SHO after 36 holes

on 30 March 2013.

HUMBLE, Texas—Steve Wheatcroft was one of the last men into the Shell Houston Open field. Through 36 holes, he’s looking down at everyone from the top of the leader board.

Wheatcroft, a journeyman mini-tour player from Jacksonville, got into the field through a Monday Qualifier at nearby Cypresswood Tradition Course. In his first PGA Tour start of the year, he shot a second straight, bogey-free 67 on Friday to post 10-under overall and lead the all-star field at Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course.

“I was actually an alternate for the Web.com event in Lousiana (last week),” said Wheatcroft, who carded five birdies on each of the first two days. “I stuck around and practiced for the whole week, and I’ve been working on some things with my swing coach and just wanted to implement those on the range…I knew I was playing well. I came right out and birdied the first three holes of the qualifier.”

Unable to get into a Web.com Tour event last week. Leading a PGA Tour event this week.

Overnight leader D.A. Points is tied with Jason Kokrak for second place at 9-under 135. Points, who birdied his first five holes on Friday on the way to a bogey-free 64, shot a 1-under 71 on Friday. Kokrak, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday that included a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 17th hole.

Stewart Cink, who last won when he broke Tom Watson’s heart at the 2009 British Open, made six birdies Friday to shoot 66. He’s tied with Brian Davis for fourth place at 7-under 137.

Former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot a 2-under 70 on Friday that took him to 1-under for the tournament. While he sat on the cut line, the young Irishman committed to play next week in the Valero Texas Open. Friday was just the two-time major champion’s 10th competitive round this season. Committing to play at TPC San Antonio guarantees McIlroy more reps prior to the Masters, which will be played April 11-14.

“I hit it better today, but only a little,” McIlroy said. “I gave myself some chances, but the putts didn’t fall. I’ve got a couple more days here, though.”

Former FedExCup champ Bill Haas and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera are tied for sixth place with PGA Tour rookie Cameron Tringale at 6-under 138.

Big-hitting Dustin Johnson is a shot back at 5-under overall after a 2-under 70. He’s tied for ninth with eight others.

A pair of former dominant Texas amateurs is among 16 players tied for 38th place. First-year pro Jordan Spieth shot a 2-under 70 on Friday to post 2-under overall. Kelly Kraft, the two-time Texas Amateur champion, shot his 2-under on Friday and matched it with an even-par round today. Both Spieth and Kraft won multiple gold medals for the U.S. at The Spirit International bi-annual event at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity.

Phil Mickelson, who won the 2011 SHO, had to make a three-foot bogey putt on the 18th hole Friday to make the cut at 1-under par.

The third round begins Saturday morning. For complete results, click here.

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