Casey blows through Houston

Paul Casey won the Shell Houston Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, beating J.B. Holmes with a bogey on the first playoff hole.

HUMBLE, Texas — Paul Casey won the Shell Houston Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, beating J.B. Holmes with a bogey on the first playoff hole.

The 31-year-old Englishman has nine international victories, but had never won in the United States. The victory boosted Casey to No. 6 in the world rankings, a career high.

Holmes needed a win to earn a trip to next week’s Masters, but is the only player from last year’s Ryder Cup who failed to qualify.

Casey bogeyed the 18th hole in regulation to complete a 72 and tie Holmes at 11-under par. Holmes wrapped up a 69 almost three hours before Casey finished.

The players met on the tee of the 488-yard 18th hole, the most difficult hole of the tournament with an average score of 4.336.

Holmes hooked his tee shot into the pond that lines the hole up to the elevated green. Casey then drove into the fairway bunker on the right side and hit a safe layup to the front of the green.

Holmes reached the green with his fourth shot, then missed a long bogey putt. Casey two-putted from 27 feet to secure the win.

Wind gusts topped 50 kilometres per hour. on Sunday and blew straight into the players’ faces on the 18th hole.

As Holmes putted on the practice green, Casey hit his 214-yard approach into the greenside bunker.

Casey blasted his sand shot to the bottom tier of the green and two-putted from 36 feet to force the first playoff in Houston since 2005.

Holmes sank birdie putts on the first three holes on the back nine before finding the bunker on the par-3 14th for a bogey. He reached the par-5 15th in two and two-putted to move to 11 under.

“I never thought I was out of it,” said Holmes. “It just takes a couple of birdies.”

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