By Seth Kerr

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The rains stayed away on Friday for the completion of the first round and beginning of the second round at the Shell Houston Open.

Players took advantage of the softened conditions to go low at Redstone GC, including midsecond-round leaders Louie Oosthuizen and Brian Davis, who finished 11-under. Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey is tied for second with Phil Mickelson and three other players at 9-under.

Ernie Els is at 5-under and will have to go low over the weekend to secure a guaranteed spot in the Masters field. He has played every Masters since 1993. It’s a tall task for Els — the Shell is only one of four events Els has played in three or more times and not finished in the top-10.

Players who didn’t finish the second round will be back in the morning, and the cut will be made once all players finish Round 2. The current projected cut is 2-under par.

Charl Schwartzel will likely have more time to plan his Masters dinner after finishing with a two-day total of 1-under. Needing a birdie on the final hole, Schwartzel nearly holed out from the bunker . Sadly, Schwartzel will not be allowed to do the grilling at Augusta — although he has the time to prepare, he’ll have to leave it to the chefs.

“I haven’t heard what it’s like and I have no knowledge,” Schwartzel said about the Masters dinner. “So I said, well, I do that full?time at home, that’s something I would like to do. Obviously it’s a little different; it’s I think a shorter time period. They do it only in a couple hours. So they said that it would be nice if we can all just chat more instead of someone cooking and stuff.”

Phil Mickelson put together a solid 2- under second round after shooting 7-under to finish the first round. You have to wonder if Mickelson is peaking too soon. Mickelson seems like he gears up for a tournament, wins it, and then disappears until next time. If Mickelson were being honest you wonder if he would say he wants to win the Shell or just continue to work on his game heading into next week.

Play was suspended in the second round with 70 players left on the course. The second round will restart at 8:30 a.m.EST, with the third round starting shortly afterward.

In off the course news, Jesper Parnevik is out for the foreseeable future after nearly severing his right index finger in a boating accident.

“The doctor thinks that it will be good, but it can take a hell of a time,” Parnevik said. “I think that you cannot do so damn much without the right hand. It is quite important, not just in golf.”

NBC has third round coverage from 3-6 p.m. EST.

Click here for ongoing discussion of the Shell Houston Open in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.


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