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April 1 2012

11:04 PM

Notes from inside the ropes

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Carl Pettersson's previously hot putter cooled on Sunday
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM correspondent HUMBLE, Texas – What did Hunter Mahan do best on Sunday in winning the Shell Houston Open? He hit 16 greens but also took 33 putts. His greatest asset was patience. He was comfortable making pars on the first eight holes before finally rolling in a birdie at the ninth. Mahan was by far the steadiest player in the field, making just two bogeys the entire week and leading the tournament in greens in regulation, hitting 62 of 72. Tough pin placement: Players took one look at hole locations for the final round and knew they were in for a tough day. Eight holes were cut within four paces of the edges of greens, including just three paces from the edge at the 13th hole. With tough hole locations, combined with wind and a rapidly drying golf course, Redstone Golf Club played to a final-round stroke average of 72.8, its highest of the week. Shot of the day: The tournament was on the line as Hunter Mahan had missed the 16th green. He seemingly had little chance at getting it close but flopped a shot right down the fall line of the putting surface that stopped 15 inches from the cup. The par save gave him some cushion for the final two holes. Twins: Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley like to play practice rounds together and compare techniques, but they took things to the extreme on Sunday. In the final round they both shot 71, hit 10 fairways, hit 12 greens and took 30 putts while sharing fourth place. Par 5s: Phil Mickelson played the par 5s in 14 under while winning the Shell Houston Open in 2011. This year, Lefty played the same holes in 6 under. “It was a totally different golf course this year. It was wet and you could not reach the par 5s in two. Last year I was hitting 4- and 5-irons into greens; I could not reach today,” Mickelson said. Louie-Louie: A combination of bad swings and bad luck hurt Louis Oosthuizen in the final round. The South African drove into a divot at the fifth hole and ended up making double bogey. Oosthuizen added another double at the eighth and was out in 41 even though he did not miss a fairway on the front nine. The sweeper: Carl Pettersson rode his putter all week long. He took 28 putts in Round 1, 27 in Round 2 and 28 in the third round. That same putter was balky on Sunday when it mattered most. Pettersson could not convert makeable putts of 11 feet at the 16th and 20 feet at the 18th. He had 31 strokes in the final round and still finished second in the tournament in Strokes Gained-Putting. Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and is inside the ropes this week at the Shell Houston Open. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
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