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Looser DeLaet in the hunt in Houston

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HUMBLE, Texas – Graham DeLaet had worn himself down over the past few weeks, trying to earn an invite into the Masters for the second straight year. Now that he has finally loosened up, he might just get the golden ticket he’s been after.

DeLaet carded a second straight round of 5-under 67 at the Shell Houston Open, and he heads into the weekend two shots behind Andrew Putnam. A change in approach has made all the difference for the Canadian, who is in search of his first win on the PGA Tour.

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“I’ve been grinding so hard and trying to get to the Masters,” said DeLaet, who has played in each of the past six majors, “almost trying too hard and not letting the game happen. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

No such issues this week at the Golf Club of Houston. DeLaet is known as one of the Tour’s best ball-strikers, but this week it’s been the putter that has moved him to the top of the standings, as he has needed just 27 putts per round. After missing the cut in each of his three prior starts, he is eager to chase what would be a breakthrough victory and earn a return trip to Augusta National.

“I’ve been here before. I’m not getting too far ahead of myself only halfway through the golf tournament,” he said. “I’m going to have fun. It’s exciting.”