Putnam steals Lefty’s thunder

Andrew Putnam stole the lead from Phil Mickelson, who has played his best back-to-back rounds of the year, by shooting a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead midway through the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston.

Putnam, who played at Pepperdine, capped a blazing run of six birdies on his last seven holes while finishing on the back nine with a 15-foot putt on the ninth hole, well after Mickelson was done for the day.

“Solo lead … that’s pretty cool,” said Putnam, whose only pro victory came in the WNB Golf Classic on the Web.com Tour. “I haven’t been playing good or scoring well. Both have been bad. But (I’m) doing both well this week.”

A few minutes after Putnam completed his round, rookie Austin Cook made his fourth straight birdie while also finishing at No. 9, to tie Mickelson for second after another 65.

Mickelson, his game heating up a week ahead of the Masters with scores of 66-67, collected seven birdies and held a two-stroke lead before pushing his drive wildly to the left and making a bogey at No. 17. He saved par with a five-foot putt on the final hole.

“I’ve been driving it really well,” said Lefty, who has not finished in the top 10 since he was second behind Rory McIlroy in the PGA Championship last Augusta at Valhalla. “Hit a lot of fairways.

“I’m building more confidence each day. I know that for me to have a good chance next week, I have to play well this week. My game has progressed. I play pretty aggressive typically. There is great risk and reward at this course.

“The golf course is in great shape. It’s a fun weekend and it’s fun to be in this position heading into weekend.”

Graham DeLaet of Canada, who has won three times on the Canadian Tour but never on the LPGA Tour, recorded his second straight 67 and was two strokes back in a tie for fourth with Luke Guthrie, who posted a bogey-free 68.

Jordan Spieth collected five birdies on the back nine and carded a bogey-free 66 that put him three shots back in a tie for sixth with Hunter Mahan (68), J.B. Holmes (70), Shawn Stefani (69), Mark Wilson (66) and Victor Dubuisson (68) of France.


Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles