March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Rory McIlroy, the No. 2 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, will play the PGA Tour tournament prior to the Masters after qualifying for weekend play at the Houston Open on the 36-hole cut line.
McIlroy added next week’s Texas Open in San Antonio to his schedule, according to a statement on the tournament’s website. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland shot a two-under 70 yesterday to finish on the one-under-par cut line at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas, and heads into play today nine strokes behind tournament leader Steve Wheatcroft of the U.S.
Wheatcroft, a 35-year-old who qualified for the tournament on March 25, is alone atop the Houston Open leaderboard at 10-under, one stroke ahead of fellow Americans D.A. Points and Jason Kokrak. Phil Mickelson, a four-time major winner, is tied with McIlroy at one-under for the tournament.
Defending-champion Hunter Mahan missed the cut, as did Australian Geoff Ogilvy and American Mark O’Meara.
Players often skip at least one tournament prior to the Masters, the season’s first major championship, which begins April 11 this year in Augusta, Georgia. McIlroy, for example, took off three weeks prior to the Masters last year, according to ESPN.
A two-time major champion, McIlroy has played three events this season, according to his PGA Tour profile. He lost the No. 1 spot in the world rankings to Tiger Woods earlier this week after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
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