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Points holds nerve to win Houston Open and Masters invite

Steve Wheatcroft of the U.S. hits out of the sand trap on the 17th hole during second round play at the Canadian Open Golf tournament at St.
Steve Wheatcroft of the U.S. hits out of the sand trap on the 17th hole during second round play at the Canadian Open Golf tournament at St.

(Reuters) - American D.A. Points held his nerve through a late weather delay to claim a one shot victory at the Houston Open on Sunday and earn a ticket to the Masters.

Clinging to a one shot advantage over clubhouse leader Henrik Stenson with four holes to play, Points had his momentum interrupted when a storm swept across the Redstone Golf Club and forced the evacuation of the course.

When play resumed after a nearly three hours, Points picked up where he left off by carding four consecutive pars to return a bogey-free six-under 66 for a winning total of 16-under 272, one shot clear of Swede Stenson (66) and compatriot Billy Horschel (66).

Dustin Johnson (65) and Ben Crane (68) finished two shots back on 14-under 274.

It was the second career PGA Tour win for Points, who failed to make the cut in seven of nine starts this season and whose best previous finish was a tie for 63rd.

"I've been having a really tough year," Points said. "To have a putt to win, you want that starting out every week.

"I would have liked for it to have been closer."

After a bogey at the 13th, Stenson's shot at the title appeared to disappear but the Swede produced a sizzling finish with four birdies over his final five holes, including the 17th and 18 to keep the pressure on Points.

But Points did not crack, rolling in a nerve-jangling 13-foot par putt at the last with a putter he borrowed from his mother to clinch the victory.

Phil Mickelson, the 2011 Houston winner, started five back of the leaders and looked like he might take a run at the title after opening with four consecutive birdies.

The three-times Masters champion's charge quickly ran out of steam, however, and eight straight pars followed by two birdies and a double-bogey left him on four-under 68, six shots behind Points.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy was not a factor either, finishing 12 shots off the pace, but the Northern Irishman did wrap up his week in style by dropping birdies on his closing two holes for a two-under 70.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry and Nick Mulvenney)

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