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Bo Van Pelt leads Houston Open, where Phil Mickelson misses the cut

GOLF

Third round is halted by darkness in the last tournament before the Masters.

April 05, 2009|Associated Press

HUMBLE, TEXAS — Phil Mickelson will have some extra time to practice for the Masters.

Bo Van Pelt moved to 11 under par to take a one-shot lead through eight holes of his third round at the Shell Houston Open just before play was suspended Saturday because of darkness.

Mickelson followed a 77 with a 76 and wasn't close to making the cut.

Fred Couples, Paul Casey, Colt Knost and Tommy Armour III were all at 10 under when the horns sounded at 7:34 p.m. The players will resume the round early today, then immediately tee off for the final 18.

Van Pelt, winless in eight-plus years on the PGA Tour, shot a 67 in the second round, then birdied four of the first eight holes in his third round.

Knost, playing with Van Pelt, was leading at 11 under until a three-putt bogey at the par-five eighth. Van Pelt hit a pitch to three feet and sank the birdie putt to switch places with Knost and take the outright lead.

The 49-year-old Couples, fourth at Redstone last year, had birdies on both par fives on the front nine, then sank a six-foot birdie putt on the 10th to join the group at 10 under.

Mickelson, who had two triple bogeys, didn't seem worried about his game. He hadn't played since winning the CA Championship on March 15 and said he needed to play some tournament rounds, regardless of the scores.

"It was really good that I played here, because I made some mistakes during these first two rounds that you just can't do competitively," Mickelson said. "Stuff like that, I needed to get out of my system after a couple of weeks off.

"It doesn't feel like my game is far off. I'm not overly concerned with what the number showed. I'm looking forward to next week."

Padraig Harrington, who will be trying for his third consecutive major title next weekend at Augusta National, was in the hunt at eight under through 13 holes.

Greg Norman, 54. making a rare appearance on the regular tour, was six under after three completed rounds.

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