Sunday's golf roundup: Poulter wins Houston Open, qualifies for Masters

Justin Rose

The win was all the more remarkable considering the Englishman was tied for 123rd place after Thursday's first round, the lowest 1st-round position by a PGA Tour victor in the last 35 years.

"To come here this week, I was exhausted, I was frustrated", said Poulter, who packed his bags after shooting 1 over on Thursday, assuming he would miss the cut.

Poulter was always heading to Augusta to work on the tournament for British television, but the 42-year-old Englishman will now be inside the ropes instead when the first major championship of the year starts on Thursday. He shot 73 and was five shots back.

Poulter strode to victory in Houston, at the first play-off hole against the earlier inspired Beau Hossler, in a manner that summed up his ferociously competitive attitude.

And it was down to two when Poulter suffered his first/only wobble at the par three ninth.

Attempting to generate a lot of spin with his third shot out of the sand, Hossler flew the green and his ball wound up in the water, all but sealing the victory for Poulter, who could have taken four putts from 33 feet to win the tournament. "I packed my bags to leave on Friday".




Just last week, towards the end of the WGC Match Play, Poulter was told he had earned himself a spot in the Masters when in fact he had not.

Poulter, who held a four-shot lead midway through the final round, trailed by one with three holes remaining after Hossler rattled in four successive birdies from the 12th, but the Englishman holed out a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to extend the tournament. For the week, Mitchell totaled 22 birdies against six bogeys and a double, and ranked 1st in driving distance at 310.3 yards. Poulter, a five-times European team member, said his win would tell captain Thomas Bjorn: "Hey, I'm here, my game is in good shape". Poulter, known for his clutch putting in several Ryder Cups, then poured in his birdie putt to force the playoff.

"This one is for my wife Katie".

Poulter and Hossler finished three strokes ahead of American Jordan Spieth whose closing 66 saw him secure third place with Argentine Emiliano Grillo. "The last few years have been tough, I've been injured and there's been stuff going on and she's the reason why I'm here".

"The win doesn't just mean getting to Augusta".

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