Houston win sends Mahan to Masters

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Houston win sends Mahan to Masters

HOUSTON - Hunter Mahan fired a final-round 71 on Sunday to win the U.S. PGA Tour’s $6 million Houston Open by one stroke over Sweden’s Carl Pettersson.

Mahan, who won the elite World Golf Championships Match Play Championship in February, became the first two-time winner on the U.S. tour this year.

The victory will boost the 29-year-old to fourth in the world rankings, sending him into the Masters, the first major tournament of the season that starts Thursday at Augusta National, as the highest-ranked American.

Mahan’s 1-under 71 at Redstone gave him a four-round total of 16-under 272. Pettersson also posted a 71 for 273.

Pettersson, who closed his round with eight straight pars, notched his second runner-up finish of the year, but couldn’t get the victory he needed to secure a berth in the Masters.

Three-time major champion Ernie Els also needed a victory to earn an automatic invitation to Augusta. Instead he was poised to miss the Masters for the first time since 1993 after finishing on 10-under.

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