Mahan Top-Ranked American
After Houston Open Victory
HUMBLE, TEXAS | At the final pre-Masters
tune-up Sunday at the Shell Houston Open, a
famous student of teacher Sean Foley won in
impressive fashion to stamp himself as the top-ranked American for this week’s Masters.
No, not Tiger Woods, but Hunter Mahan,
who became the first two-time winner on the
PGA Tour this year.
He captured his fifth career victory by
shooting a 71-272 total, 16-under par, one shot
better than Carl Pettersson. It was Mahan’s
first win in his home state and lifted him to a
projected No. 4 spot in the world golf rankings.
“I’m playing good, that’s for sure,” Mahan
said. “I hit some clutch shots, especially on
No. 18. Wow. What a tournament. I’m excited
for Augusta. I think this is a great preview.”
Mahan took the lead with a
birdie on the par- 4 10th hole
at Redstone Golf Club and
never looked back. He won
the day one shot behind
Mahan, three shots out of the
lead, but using a putter almost
as tall as he was shot up the lead-
erboard with birdies on the first and
fourth holes, then reeled off nine
straight pars on the back nine.
He had an 11-foot birdie
putt on the par- 4 18th to
tie Mahan, but left it short,
finishing at 71-271.
right now, but overall my game is good,”
Mahan trailed Louis Oosthuizen by two shots
going into a very hot and humid final round, but
stayed loose on the range before the round joking with his caddie, John Wood, about Saturday
night’s Final Four basketball games.
Before the Houston Open, no player on the
PGA Tour had won multiple events. Mahan won
his first in 2012 with a dominating victory in the
WGC-Accenture Match Play against Northern
Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, a performance Mahan
called the most complete of his career.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion,
bogeyed the third hole and double-bogeyed the
par- 4 fifth when he had to take an unplayable
lie for hitting a ball into a bush. He finished third
despite a 41 on the front nine with a 75-274 total.
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson
finished his final pre-Masters round with a 71-276
score. He began the day six shots out of the third-round lead, bogeyed the second hole at Redstone
and never threatened to mount a charge.
“I played well, drove it well and feel like I’ve
got some good momentum going into Augusta,”
Unlike in the past when he returned home
to San Diego to see his family, Mickelson went
straight to Augusta Sunday night.
“I feel like I’ve already prepared well, it’s
just a matter of getting the touch and feel,”
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Hunter Mahan became the first
PGA Tour multiple winner in 2012.