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Wheatcroft Leads Houston, McIlroy Sticks Around

Steve Wheatcroft plays his second shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone Golf Club on March 29, 2013 in Humble, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Steve Wheatcroft plays his second shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the Shell Houston Open at the Redstone Golf Club on March 29, 2013 in Humble, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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HUMBLE, Texas (AP) — A late birdie might just be enough to give Rory McIlroy two more rounds before the Masters.

Steve Wheatcroft, a Monday qualifier for the Houston Open, had another 67 to take the lead among early starters Friday at Redstone Golf Club.

Far down the leaderboard was McIlroy, struggling to make the cut for the first time this year against a full field. He two-putted from 85 feet away on the fringe on the par-5 eighth hole and made par on his final hole for a 2-under 70. That put him at 1-under 143, which appeared to be safe for playing on the weekend.

Wheatcroft was at 10-under 134 and had a three-shot lead. The PGA Tour hasn’t had a Monday qualifier win a tournament since Arjun Atwal in August 2010.

(© 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.)