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One shot back, Mickelson eyes 43rd career victory

Final Round Preview –PGA Tour –Shell Houston Open– Golf Club of Houston – Humble, Texas –

The PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open heads into the weekend with several high-profile players in the mix with the Masters just days away.

World Golf Hall of Fame member and 42-time PGA Tour winner Phil Mickelson is just a shot back and tees off in the final group alongside overnight leader and tour rookie Andrew Putnam, a 250-to-1 betting long shot at ww.ladbrokes.com.

Mickelson shot 67 Friday to position himself at 11-under. His last win was the 2013 Open Championship.

Mickelson, who is 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking, is tied with Monday qualifier Austin Cook, who is playing in just his second ever PGA Tour event. Opening-round leader Graham DeLaet and Luke Guthrie are T-4 at 10-under.

Look for the someone in the group at T-6 and 9-under to make a run on Moving Day at the Golf Club of Houston. World No. 4 Jordan Spieth headlines that group that includes J.B. Holmes, Victor Dubuisson and Hunter Mahan.

For Spieth, he entered the week as the betting favorite at 6-1 odds and for good reason. In his last 11 worldwide starts, he has three victories, six Top 5s and eight Top 10s. After a win two weeks ago and runner-up to Jimmy Walker last week in San Antonio, Spieth could rise to second in the world rankings with a victory this week.

Increased winds and possible rain will challenge players Saturday. Look for a changing leader board as players adjust.

Other Golf news:

  • Sei Young Kim (7-under) shot 65 Friday to take the outright lead at the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration. Kim, a 22-year-old rookie on the LPGA Tour, has five wins on the Korea LPGA Tour and won earlier this season in February at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. She leads Morgan Pressel by two shots after entering this week as a 50-1 long shot to win.
  • Shawn Stefani (T-6 at 9-under) is in the mix again in Shell Houston Open. The local product finished solo 5th place last year in Houston. He was a 50-1 betting selection heading into the week.
  • Rolex Ranking World No. 1 Lydia Ko snapped her run of 29 straight rounds of par shooting 1-over-73 Friday at Mission Hills Country Club. She is T-30 heading into the weekend and continues to search for her first major championship victory.
  • Past champions at the ANA Inspiration, formerly the KRAFT Nabisco Championship, are in contention again. Stacy Lewis (T-6), Brittany Lincicome (T-3) and Pressel (second at the moment) all have a shot to win heading into the weekend.
  • Bill Haas, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, defending champion Matt Jones and Martin Kaymer all missed the cut this week in Houston.