March 31 2013
Phil Mickelson put a driver back in his bag on Sunday and hit seven of 14 fairways. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE, Texas -- D.A. Points retained his touch through more than a 2-hour rain delay in winning the Shell Houston Open.
Redstone Golf Club received more than an inch of rain and it was a guessing game with how much the conditions changed. Points was immediately tested with a 43-yard chip on the 17th hole that he hit to within 2 feet and then made a 13-foot putt on the final green for the tournament-winning par.
Points reasoned the greens retained moisture following the rain so he switched from a gap wedge to a pitching wedge on the 17th hole and played a little less break on the final putt. He opened with a 64 and closed with a 66. D.A. was on point the entire week.
Putter: Points took just 23 putts in the opening round and then followed with 32 putts in each of the next two rounds. Points maintained he was still rolling the ball well, but it was just a matter of time until the putts fell. They started dropping on the second hole where he made a 6-footer but it was the 29-foot putt at the third hole that really gave him confidence. For the remainder of the round every putt had a chance to go in the cup.
Strong finish: Henrik Stenson finished strong with birdies on the last two holes. His play on the 18th hole was textbook. He drove it 279 yards and the approach from 133 yards landed within 12 feet of the cup and he made the putt. To birdie both the 17th and 18th holes was tremendous play under pressure, and he qualified for the Masters in the process.
Long ball: Dustin Johnson “over-performed” on Sunday. He made bogeys at both the 14th and 17th holes because he hit it too well. At the 14th, Johnson hit a 5- iron from 223 yards that flew the green and led to bogey. At the 17th hole, he hit a 177-yard 9-iron that covered the flag but also went too far. Johnson made two bogeys hitting what he thought were perfect shots.
Bad start: Steve Wheatcroft had so much riding on the final round and he began in miserable fashion with a double bogey at the first hole. He hit his approach into the wind and it stood straight up in the air, then dropped vertically into the bunker creating a terrible lie. Wheatcroft had no chance with the bunker shot, then sent a chip 6 feet by the cup and missed that for a 6. It was a disappointing start and Wheatcroft did not hide his emotions. As soon as he saw his lie in the bunker his body language was terrible for the remainder of the hole. He did birdie the second but never really rebounded from the bad start by shooting a 74. He went from a tie for third at the start of the final round to a 22nd-place finish.
Low one: Phil Mickelson predicted he had a “low one” in him for the final round and he was accurate. Unfortunately, it was not low enough. Mickelson birdied the first four holes to get to 10 under par but could not sustain the momentum. He ripped off eight straight pars before a birdie at the 13th but followed that with a double bogey on the 14th. He played 1 under on the remaining four holes to finish 10 under.
3-wood: Mickelson played the first three rounds of the tournament carrying a pair of 3-woods and no driver. He put driver in play on Sunday and hit seven of 14 fairways. Mickelson will experiment with a new deep face driver from Callaway before committing to what clubs he will carry at the Masters.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here