Ian Poulter books Augusta place with Houston play-off win

A triple bogey on eight sees Paul Dunne lose momentum but he finishes tied for eighth

Ian Poulter celebrates victory in the Houston Open, after a play-off. Photograph: Stacy Revere/Getty

Ian Poulter celebrates victory in the Houston Open, after a play-off. Photograph: Stacy Revere/Getty

 

Ian Poulter secured his place at the Masters after a nerveless play-off victory against American Beau Hossler at the Houston Open.

Poulter, who held a four-shot lead midway through the final round, trailed by one with three holes remaining after Hossler rattled in four successive birdies from the 12th, but the Englishman holed out a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to extend the tournament.

Hossler’s quest for his first PGA title ended in disaster after finding bunkers with his first two shots when replaying the 18th.

His third shot from a greenside bunker found water handing the initiative to Poulter, who kept his nerve to secure victory with a steady par.

Meanwhile Paul Dunne’s spirited challenge effectively ended on the eighth hole of his final round - as a triple-bogey eight saw him slip down the leaderboard.

However, he still signed for a one under par 71 - leaving him on 13 under par for the tournament, six behind Poulter and Hossler, and in a share of eighth place.

Shane Lowry finished a stroke back from Dunne, as he rounded his week off with a Sunday 69.

With just one place up for grabs, only victory at the Golf Club of Houston would have been enough for Poulter to earn his right to play in the season’s first major after narrowly missing out through his world rankings position and a mix-up during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last week.

The 42-year-old found himself 51st in this week’s world rankings, with the top 50 players receiving an invite to Augusta National, which came two days after being informed that he had done enough to qualify ahead of his quarter-final in Mexico, only to be told 10 minutes before his defeat to Kevin Kisner that he required another victory.

Poulter’s chances of qualification looked slim when he carded a poor first round — where he hit a one-over par 73 to sit 123rd — but recovered to record a flawless eight-under on Friday and seven birdies on Saturday to share the lead with Hossler ahead of the final round before sealing his first title since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions.

A stunning shot from the fairway bunker on the second hole earned Poulter his first gain of the day when he dialled in to six feet to take the outright lead on 15-under par before landing an approach to three feet for a tap-in birdie at the fourth to move two shots clear.

Another great approach at the sixth yielded another birdie for Poulter to move three clear at 17-under par, before picking up another shot at the eighth, but he maintained his advantage at the top of the leaderboard following a Hossler gain at the same hole.

Paul Dunne shot a fourth round of 71 at the Houston Open, meaning he finished tied for eighth place. Photograph: Josh Hedges/Getty
Paul Dunne shot a fourth round of 71 at the Houston Open, meaning he finished tied for eighth place. Photograph: Josh Hedges/Getty

A bogey at the ninth dropped him back to 17 under as Jordan Spieth closed in to just two strokes behind after successive birdies from the 12th.

Poulter moved back to 18-under par with a gain at the 11th, but he could only keep his lead to two shots after Spieth, Emiliano Grillo picked up birdies.

However, Hossler surged ahead with his birdie frenzy from the 12th to move to 19-under par, as Poulter also missed the chance to pick up a shot at the 13th, and looked on course for his maiden PGA Tour crown until the Englishman’s last hole and play-off heroics.

The 42-year-old admits the victory will take some time to sink in after describing the last few years as a rollercoaster.

“It is amazing, to get this done today to get me to Augusta is amazing,” Poulter told Sky Sports.

“I’m going to have a good day’s rest tomorrow, I will not be venturing to Augusta until Tuesday.

“It’s going to take a little while to sink in. I’m super excited.

“It’s been a rollercoaster the last couple of years to be honest, to be down where I was has been tough.”

Argentinian Emiliano Grillo bogeyed the last to finish alongside three-time major championship winner Jordan Spieth at 16 under, with American Sam Ryder one shot further adrift.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was tied for sixth with Keith Mitchell on 14-under par.

Collated final round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour Houston Open (USA unless stated, par 72):

269 Ian Poulter (Eng) 73 64 65 67 (Poulter won at the first extra play-off hole), Beau Hossler 65 68 69 67
272 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 68 67 68, Jordan Spieth 68 67 71 66
273 Sam Ryder 66 68 71 68
274 Keith Mitchell 67 71 67 69, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 68 69 69
275 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 68 66 72 69, Julian Suri 66 69 73 67, Paul Dunne (Irl) 64 71 69 71, Russell Henley 69 71 70 65, Matt Kuchar 68 68 69 70, Matt Every 67 70 72 66
276 Michael Thompson 67 71 70 68, Grayson Murray 67 69 72 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 68 71 69, Nicholas Lindheim 68 66 73 69
277 Bud Cauley 67 69 71 70, Daniel Berger 69 72 68 68, Robert Garrigus 69 69 67 72, Chesson Hadley 68 68 69 72, Nate Lashley 70 69 68 70, Charles Howell III 71 67 70 69
278 Luke List 68 68 70 72, Tony Finau 70 70 69 69, Phil Mickelson 68 71 72 67, Shawn Stefani 67 69 70 72, Scott Piercy 68 70 70 70, Martin Piller 68 73 70 67, Jamie Lovemark 69 69 71 69, Bronson Burgoon 67 68 75 68
279 Nick Watney 71 69 69 70, Andrew Putnam 71 69 69 70, Aaron Wise 69 69 71 70, Roberto Diaz (Mex) 68 69 72 70, Lucas Glover 65 73 72 69, J.B. Holmes 73 68 68 70, Rob Oppenheim 69 72 72 66, James Hahn 69 67 73 70, Kevin Tway 65 70 69 75, John Huh 70 67 70 72, Tyrone Van Aswegen (Rsa) 72 68 71 68
280 Brett Stegmaier 67 69 74 70, Kevin Streelman 68 72 69 71, Hunter Mahan 71 69 70 70, Keegan Bradley 68 71 70 71, Denny McCarthy 68 73 71 68, Ben Crane 72 67 72 69, Ryan Armour 66 70 72 72, Troy Merritt 69 69 72 70, Rickie Fowler 66 68 73 73
281 Matt Jones (Aus) 70 71 72 68, Bobby Gates 70 71 70 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 69 72 71 69, Seung-su Han 71 70 71 69, Justin Rose (Eng) 68 69 72 72, Tyler Duncan 68 72 71 70, Johnson Wagner 71 67 71 72, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 72 70 70
282 Adam Schenk 70 69 73 70, Tom Hoge 68 73 68 73, Brandon Harkins 70 71 70 71, Seamus Power (Irl) 67 72 74 69
283 Danny Lee (Nzl) 68 70 70 75, Chad Campbell 69 71 73 70, Jason Dufner 71 67 71 74, Sean O’Hair 71 68 74 70
284 Dawie Van Der Walt (Rsa) 70 69 69 76, Tom Lovelady 70 69 70 75
285 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa) 69 71 71 74, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 67 72 65 81
286 Ernie Els (Rsa) 70 71 71 74, Sam Saunders 70 66 75 75
287 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 68 74 74
288 Ethan Tracy 70 67 73 78

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.