D.A. Points, who missed the cut for weekend play in seven of his nine previous U.S. PGA Tour starts this year, won the Houston Open to earn a place at golf’s Masters Tournament.
Points made a 13-foot par putt on the closing hole yesterday to clinch a one-shot win. His 6-under-par 66 gave him a four-round total of 16-under 272. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and fellow American Billy Horschel tied for second place at Redstone Country Club in Humble, Texas.
Points, 36, received $1.08 million for the win, which comes two years after he got his first PGA Tour title at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Stenson also claimed a Masters berth by gaining enough points to climb into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. The first of golf’s four annual major championships begins April 11 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
“I never count myself out,” said Points, whose best previous finish this year was a tie for 63rd place at the Humana Challenge in January. “I was just grinding, just trying to wait and try to find that one thing that like, ‘Boom, there it is.’ Fortunately, it was this week and I capitalized.”
Dustin Johnson and Ben Crane tied for fourth at 14-under par, while world No. 2 Rory McIlroy tied for 45th place, 10 shots further back. McIlroy had a chance to supplant Tiger Woods atop the world rankings with a win at the Houston Open, yet had rounds of 73-70-71-70.
While Woods didn’t play at the Houston Open and is off until the Masters, McIlroy will be in action again this week at the April 4-7 Texas Open in San Antonio. McIlroy last week opted to enter the tournament after originally planning to skip the final PGA Tour event before the Masters.
“If it was a par-3 course, I’d go and play it, because that’s what I need,” McIlroy told reporters after closing his final-round 70 with back-to-back birdies. “I need competitive golf and committing to targets. As long as I have that and a scorecard in my hand, that’s what I need.”