Garcia cards 65, leads Kuchar by 1 in Houston


Low scores remained the name of the game in Houston, where Sergio Garcia rode a hot putter to one of the lowest rounds of the week. Here's how things stand heading into the weekend at the Shell Houston Open, where the Spaniard holds a one-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-12), Matt Kuchar (-11), Matt Jones (-8), Cameron Tringale (-8), Shawn Stefani (-8), Jimmy Walker (-8), Steve Stricker (-7)

What it means: Garcia won the Wyndham Championship in 2012, but that's his only PGA Tour victory since his triumph at the Players Championship in 2008. He won earlier this year in Qatar, however, and has been playing well since last fall. He'll look to keep Kuchar at bay this weekend, as the pair have opened up somewhat of a gap from the rest of the field through 36 holes.

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Round of the day: With the Masters less than a week away, Garcia may have preferred to save some of Friday's made putts for Augusta National. The Spaniard needed only 25 putts to complete his round, carding a 7-under 65 that did not include a bogey. Garcia went low in two short spurts during the second round, notching three straight birdies from Nos. 3-5 and then playing holes 12-14 in 4 under.

Best of the rest: Walker began his week with an unassuming 71, but moved into contention by matching Garcia's 7-under 65 in the second round. Already with three wins to his credit this season, Walker recorded four birdies on each nine and now appears in position to increase his lead in the season-long FedEx Cup points race heading into the Masters.

Biggest disappointment: Keegan Bradley sat just one shot off the lead after an opening 66, but the former PGA champ almost played his way to an early exit Friday, shooting a 5-over 77. Bradley birdied his opening hole but added a pair of double bogeys across the next 10. Following a bogey on No. 18, he was left at 1 under for the week, having made the cut on the number despite his strong start.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: There are several players still in search of that final spot in the Masters, but the two men at the top are both safely in next week's field. Garcia and Kuchar famously battled during the 1998 U.S. Amateur, a match that Garcia won, and the Spaniard will look to replicate that result in an effort to once again create distance between himself and the field in Houston.

Quote of the day: "I’m excited about the weekend because, first of all, I haven’t had many opportunities this year." - Phil Mickelson, who shot a 2-under 70 in the second round to move into a tie for ninth, six shots behind Garcia.