There are 78 players entering the weekend at the Houston Open with a chance to pull off the "win and in" to play in next week’s Masters Tournament.
Julian Suri of Ponte Vedra Beach and Bud Cauley of Jacksonville are two of them – and they’re within striking distance of Beau Hossler’s lead of 11-under-par 133.
Suri (69) is among five players tied for third at 9-under and two shots off the lead after Friday’s second round at the Golf Club of Houston, a list that includes 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth; and Cauley (69) is among a 12-player traffic jam at 8-under and in a tie for 11th, three back.
There are 21 players within three shots of Hossler – who also needs a victory to score the final spot in the Masters. Of the 90 players who made the cut, the most in the Houston Open since 2012, only 12 are already in the tournament next week at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Suri, who shot 64 to win a Monday qualifier to get into the field at Houston, followed up a first-round 66 with a round that included five birdies and two bogeys. He was within a shot of the lead before he three-putted the par-4 18th hole for a bogey.
Suri has his tee-to-green game honed to a fine edge. His longest birdie putt was 11 feet at the par-3 14th (the tee shot was 222 yards) and the other birdies were on putts of 7 feet or less.
Cauley recovered from two bogeys on his front nine to birdie four of five holes on the back. He dropped putts of 21 feet at No. 11 and 16 feet at No. 12, then birdied both par-5 holes on the back.
Suri has made his fourth cut in five PGA Tour events, and he’s gotten into the fields in a variety of ways. He used sponsor invitations to play at Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and the TPC Scottsdale, and played in last week’s Dell Technologies Match Play off his world golf ranking.
Suri, a Bartram Trail High and Duke graduate, is an exempt player on the European PGA Tour after winning once and logging seven top-10s last year to finish 52nd on the Race to Dubai.
Cauley, who did not play high school golf and is a former Alabama player, is fully exempt on the Tour and is looking for his first victory.
Suri is playing in the fourth group with Shawn Stefani and Ryan Armour, and will tee off at 11:50 on Saturday. Cauley is two groups back, with Luke List and Chesson Hadley, teeing off at 11:30.