Players to watch at the Shell Houston Open

We are one week away from the PGA Tour's first major of the year and it seems everyone is already looking ahead to The Masters.

Before we get to Augusta National, players like Ernie Els are headed to the Shell Houston Open for one last shot to get into The Masters with a win.

Phil Mickelson; defending champion, head lines a field of major champions. Including three of the four reigning major champions from 2011.

Last year, Shell announced it would renew it's sponsorship of the event for another five years. Making this event the third longest running tournament on the PGA Tour.

As stated before, there are three of the four current major champions in the field this week. Charl Schwartzel (Maters), Darren Clarke (Open Championship) and Keegan Bradley (PGA Champion).

These three major championship winners, are also joined by three-time Masters Champion and PGA Champion Phil Mickelson. Who is also the defending champion this week. 2009 Masters Champion, Angel Cabrera and 1992 Masters Champion and recent Champions Tour winner, Fred Couples.

Couples, also has the longest active cuts made streak here in Houston, with 18 consecutive cuts made at the Shell Houston Open. Including his victory here in 2003.

Lets take a look at some players to watch this week in Houston.

Keegan Bradley

The 2011 PGA Champion comes into Houston riding a hot streak of top-25 finishes.

Bradley has not finished outside the top-25 in any of his eight starts so far in 2012. Including tie for eighth in his last event, the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Two-times a winner on the PGA Tour, he is currently ranked 20th in GIR, 22nd in strokes gained putting and fifth in the all-around ranking. Bradley has a lot of confidence. Stemming back to last August at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Phil Mickelson

Defending champion returning to Houston to prepare for The Masters.

Mickelson tied the course record at this event last year, carding a bogey free 63 in the third round. Leading the field with 27 birdies in 2011.

Lefty already has one victory in 2011 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. A repeat win in Houston, could vault him to an early favorite next week in Augusta.

Johnson Wagner

Wagner and his 'Stache' head to Houston sitting atop the 2012 FedEx Cup point standings.

Claimed his first of three victories at this event in 2008, and was the first to set the course record of 63.

The winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii, Wagner also co-leads the PGA Tour in Top-10 finishes so far this season. Including a T2 at the Humana Challenge and a T4 last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.


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