Thursday, February 22, 2018
Golf

Wheatcroft leads PGA's Houston Open

HUMBLE, Texas — Steve Wheatcroft hates going to Monday qualifiers. He was reminded Friday why they can be worth it.

Wheatcroft ran off three straight birdies early in his second round at the Houston Open and kept bogeys off his card for a second straight 5-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead over first-round leader D.A. Points (71) and Jason Kokrak (69) at 10-under 134.

Wheatcroft, 35, has just conditional status on the Web.com tour. His lone pro win at any level is a 12-shot romp at the 2011 Web.com Mid-Atlantic Championship.

He plays qualifiers to get into PGA Tour events. His best tour finish is a tie for third at the 2010 Puerto Rico Open. He made the Houston Open with his performance Monday.

He is looking to join Arjun Atwal as the only Monday open qualifiers to win on the tour in the past 25 years.

"Who knows?'' he said. "I could shoot 61 (today), I could shoot 71 (today). I really don't know. I'm not going to sit around here and think about it too much."

Wheatcroft plans to tee it up in Monday's qualifier for next week's Texas Open. He is getting married in a little more than six months and is playing this week to pay for the florist.

"Flowers are expensive,'' he said. "If golf doesn't work out, I ought to become a florist.''

Rory McIlroy made the cut on the line at 1 under after 70. Making just his second cut in five tournaments with cuts this year, he changed his mind and decided to play next week's Texas Open instead of taking the week off before the Masters.

Phil Mickelson also made the cut on the number with 71.

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