Golf: Points claims Houston Open, spot in the Masters with 66

2013-04-01T00:00:00Z Golf: Points claims Houston Open, spot in the Masters with 66The Associated Press The Associated Press
April 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

HUMBLE, Texas - D.A. Points can always find a ray of light in the darkest clouds.

He arrived at the Houston Open having failed to break 70 in his last nine rounds on the PGA Tour. He had made only two cuts in nine tournaments this year, both times finishing at the bottom of the pack. All that changed Sunday, even after a final round most appropriately delayed by thunderstorms.

Points returned from the long delay by making four pars, and the last one from just outside 12 feet gave him a one-shot victory in the Houston Open.

It also provided another two-year exemption on tour. He gets to start next year in Hawaii. And he's on his way back to Augusta National for the Masters.

"I never count myself out," Points said. "I never just chalk it up like, 'Oh, this year is over with.' I've never felt like that. I was just grinding, just trying to wait and try to find that one thing that like, 'Boom! There it is.' And there I go. Fortunately, it was this week."

He made it hard on himself in a final round at Redstone, where a dozen guys felt as if they had a chance to win on the back nine. Only in the final hour did Points seize control, but he had to work hard not to lose the lead.

A 5-iron to the 17th came up 40 yards short of his target, and he chipped up to tap-in range to take a one-shot lead to the tough 18th. He hit a hybrid from 231 yards that nearly went into the bunker, leaving another long chip. This one came up shorter than he wanted, but the putt was true.

Points closed with a 6-under 66, the final putt helping him avoid a playoff with Masters-bound Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel.

Stenson birdied his last two holes for a 66 before the storms rolled across Houston, and while he came up one shot short, he moved up to No. 42 in the world ranking to earn an invitation to the Masters.

"I said to my caddie walking up 18, 'No matter what, we're playing for a green jacket in a couple of weeks,'" Stenson said. "That will be nice."

It wasn't so nice for Charles Howell III, who rallied with a 66 but still wound up four shots away from where he needed to finish to get into the top 50. Howell, who grew up in Augusta, will miss the Masters for the fourth time in the last five years.

Chip shots

• In Agadir, Morocco, Marcel Siem of Germany shot a 2-under 70 to win the Hassan II Trophy by three strokes. Siem, who went from No. 72 to No. 51 in the world, fell a fraction short of a Masters bid when Russell Henley closed with a 68 at the Houston Open to tie for 45th.

• In Thailand, Australian Scott Hend won the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic after a final-round 64 to beat South African Bryce Easton by three strokes.

Local holes-in-one

Bob Asbell

• March 24, The Gallery, No. 15, 133 yards. Witnesses: John Meslow, John LeMay, Myron Galuskin.

Kaye Crandall

• March 25, Crooked Tree, No. 2, 130 y1ards, 6-iron. Witnesses: Carol Pierce, Linda Longlet.

Linda Davis

• March 26, Rolling Hills, No. 11, 183 yards, 7-wood. Witness: Gary Boorse.

Tom McDaniel

• March 26, Fred Enke, No. 6, 123 yards, 9-iron. Witnesses: Phillip J. Kardis, R.E. Neske.

June Thomas

• March 10, Quail Canyon, No. 8, 126 yards. Witness: Dolores Kinney.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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