England’s Paul Casey has climbed to number six on the Official World Golf Ranking following a playoff victory over JB Holmes in the Shell Houston Open.
The 31-year-old completed the perfect preparation for next week’s US Masters, seeing off long-hitting Holmes at the first extra hole.
Holmes completed his final round some three hours before Casey and had a long wait to see if his -11 total would be good enough. The Englishman stood at -12 on the 18th tee, but the closing hole was playing straight into the teeth of a strong wind and he could only manage a bogey five.
That dropped him back to -11 so he and Holmes headed back to the 18th tee for extra holes. The American stood up first and hooked his ball into the water lining the left side of the hole.
“It was rough,” Holmes said. “I posted my score three hours before they were done. That was an advantage I thought I had, but when you get into a playoff after waiting three hours, it turns out to be a bit of a disadvantage. I hit a bad shot and didn’t deserve to win.”
Casey took advantage of Holmes’ mistake and played a 3-wood into the bunker on the right of the fairway. He then played a lay-up short of the green, pitched on and took two-putts for a five. Holmes found the green with his fourth shot but when his long-range effort for five missed, the title was Casey’s for the taking.
“I stuck to the game plan,” Casey said. “Hit to the left edge of the bunker, drift it right. No problem.”
Fred Couples looked like he might secure his first title since the 2003 Houston Open but he made three bogeys over his final three holes to finish two shots behind Casey and Holmes.
Shell Houston Open
Redstone Golf Club Tournament Course, Humble, Texas
Apr 2-5, purse $5,600,000, par 72
1 Paul Casey (Eng) 66 70 69 72 277 $1,026,000
2 J.B Holmes (USA) 71 69 68 69 277 $615,600
T3 Fred Couples (USA) 68 69 68 74 279 $296,400
T3 Nick O’Hern (Aus) 72 71 66 70 279 $296,400
T3 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70 67 72 70 279 $296,400
T6 Tommy Armour III (USA) 66 70 72 72 280 $178,410
T6 Jason Bohn (USA) 69 71 66 74 280 $178,410
T6 Hunter Mahan (USA) 71 69 72 68 280 $178,410
T6 John Mallinger (USA) 75 65 70 70 280 $178,410
T6 Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 67 69 69 75 280 $178,410
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only