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Winners and Losers from the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2013

Winners and Losers from the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open

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    D.A. Points knew the pressure was on.

    When the rains came down in Houston and play was suspended in the final round, Points knew exactly where he stood.

    He had a one-shot lead with two holes to play.

    He knew that he could hang on for the Shell Houston Open championship if he could par the final two holes.

    That's difficult enough for most golfers when play is continuous. But when you have to wait out a long rain delay for your second career championship, it's a huge burden.

    Points got the job done, thanks to a clutch 13-foot par on the final hole of the tournament.

    He was the big winner in Houston, but not the only one.

    Here are this week's winners and losers from the Shell Houston Open.

Winner: D.A. Points

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    D.A. Points was not thinking about winning when he arrived at the Shell Houston Open. He was thinking about surviving and making the cut.

    Points had failed to make the cut in seven of his first nine tournaments. That changed quickly, as he fired a sensational 64 in the first round. Points was decent in the middle two rounds with back-to-back rounds of 71, but a final round with that kind of score would not have been enough to get him a victory.

    Instead, Points shot a 66 in the final round to secure a one-stroke victory over Henrik Stenson. Points shot a 16-under-par 272 for the tournament, and he rolled in a 13-foot par putt to clinch the victory.

    The win gives Points a two-year exemption on the tour and also earned him an invitation to the Masters in two weeks.

    The payday wasn't bad, either. Points brought home $1,116,000 with the victory.

Loser: Rory Mcllroy

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    It was time for Rory McIlroy to make a statement.

    Archrival Tiger Woods was taking the week off after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, his third triumph of the year.

    Woods has moved back into the No. 1 position in the world and McIlroy had a chance to make a statement himself in Houston.

    Instead of coming out and playing sharp golf and showing off his swagger, McIlroy played four ordinary rounds. He never broke 70 and finished in a tie for 45th with a four-under-par 284.

    That's not good enough with the Masters just a couple of weeks away.

Winner: Henrik Stenson

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    Henrik Stenson picked a very important time to have his best round of the year.

    Stenson shot a six-under-par 66 and ended up finishing in a tie for second place with a 15-under-par 273.

    Stenson closed with two birdies, and if Points didn't roll in a 13-foot par putt on the final hole, Stenson would have met Points in a playoff.

    Stenson still has to be happy with his finish. Not only did he take home a paycheck of $545,600, but he moved up to the No. 42 position in the world.

    That rise in the golf standings earned him an invitation to the Masters in two weeks.

Loser: Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley had plenty of momentum after tying for third place in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

    His game was sharp in that tournament as he remained in contention throughout, but couldn't make a push to pass Tiger Woods.

    With Woods taking a week off, Bradley should have been in a position to win or at least have a chance to contend again. However, Bradley was ordinary, breaking 70 just once and finishing in a tie for 10th place.

    Bradley suffered with his accuracy off the tee. He found the fairway just 53.57 percent of the time, putting him in a tie for 66th in that category.

    Bradley can hit the ball a long way (316.5 yards per drive), but he must hit the ball more accurately if he is going to be successful as the season heads towards its most critical stage.

Winner: Dustin Johnson

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    Dustin Johnson did not demonstrate much consistency at the Shell Houston Open.

    However, he put together a major charge in the final round and took over the lead at one point. He gave that lead away when he missed a birdie putt on the 11th hole and then hit his 5-wood on the 12th into the water.

    However, despite that bit of difficulty, Johnson shot a 65 in the final round and finished in a tie for fourth place. That was the best round of the tournament's final day.

    Johnson finished with a seven-under-par 274. He also averaged 319.4 yards per drive, leading the field by nearly three yards per drive.

Loser: Steve Stricker

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    Steve Stricker could not follow up his second-place finish in the Cadillac Open in early March with another scintillating showing at the Shell Houston Open.

    Stricker, one of the foremost putters on the tour, never developed his rhythm during the tournament. He shot a one-under-par 283. He shot a solid 68 in the second round, but did not break 70 in any of the other rounds.

    Stricker finished in a tie for 38th and earned just over $25,000.

    Stricker's putting stroke was not there. He averaged 1.759 putts per green, ranking 36th for the four rounds.

    Stricker needs to be in the top 10 in that category if he is going to contend.

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