Wheatcroft, who narrowly qualified for the Houston Open at the start of the week, ran off three straight birdies early in his round and kept bogeys off his card for a second straight 5-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead over D.A. Points and Jason Kokrak going into the weekend at Redstone Golf Club.
Rory McIlroy also will be around for two more days, but just barely.
In only his 10th full round of the year, McIlroy walked onto the seventh green—his 16th hole of the day—and saw that he was tied for 77th. He two-putted from 85 feet on the fringe for birdie on his next hole, and then safely found the green at the par-3 ninth for a 70. By the end of the day, McIlroy made the cut on the number.
His big surprise came later. McIlroy, feeling as though he needs more rounds to get ready for the Masters, decided to enter the Texas Open next week.
Phil Mickelson also made the cut on the number after a bogey on the last hole for a 71. Mickelson, who has played the Masters with two drivers in the bag, decided to play Redstone on Friday with two 3-woods in the bag, though one of them is so strong it acts like a driver.
Wheatcroft was at 10-under 134.
Kokrak had a 69, and Points shot 71.
HASSAN II TROPHY
AGADIR, Morocco (AP)—Germany's Marcel Siem shot a 4-under 68 to maintain a three-stroke lead after the second round of the European Tour's Hassan II Trophy.
The French Open champion, needing a victory this weekend to have a chance to get into the top 50 in the world and earn a spot in the Masters, had a 12-under 132 total at Golf du Palais Royal.
Finland's Mikko Ilonen (66) and England's David Horsey, the 2011 winner, were tied for second. Ilonen shot 66, and Horsey had a 67.