April 24, 2024

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Geiger wins the Houston Open. Scheffler missed a 5-foot putt on the 18th

Geiger wins the Houston Open.  Scheffler missed a 5-foot putt on the 18th

HOUSTON — Stefan Geiger won his first PGA Tour event on his 135th attempt, closing with nine straight shots for a 3-under 67 and avoiding a playoff when Scottie Scheffler missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday.

Scheffler was trying to become the first player in seven years to win three straight PGA Tour starts, and he had a chance. He put in a birdie putt from 20 feet on the par-5 16th and missed from 12 feet for birdie on the 17th.

He missed his 5-foot putt to force the playoff left, and Scheffler had to settle for a 68 and second place.

“Obviously I'm a little disappointed right now,” Scheffler said. “It would be one thing if I pulled it or something. I misread it. I don't know why I misread it, it's part of the game. I probably could have hit it faster, I felt like that.” “I hit a good shot the way I wanted to, but I couldn't.”

Geiger, a 34-year-old German who came to high school in Tennessee when he was 16, earned his first trip to the Masters with the win. He is also a participant in the remaining four $20 million events this season.

Alejandro Tosti had a chance to become just the fourth PGA Tour rookie to win this early in the year. He was tied for the lead until he shot too hard on the 18th and missed an 18-foot par putt for 68.

There was a five-way tie for the lead at the start – the largest on the Tour since 2009 – and at least eight players had a share of the lead at some point during the Tour.

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Jaeger was always in the mix, taking the lead with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth hole at Memorial Park. It was his last birdie of the day, and no one could beat him.

“I just tried to stay within myself,” Geiger said. “The birdies eluded me on the back nine. But this golf course plays hard, especially when you're on the front. I'm very happy.”

Thomas Detri, David Skenes and Taylor Moore all made mistakes along the way.

Scheffler was down by one shot when he missed the green on the par-3 15th and failed to save par on an 8-foot putt, falling behind by two shots with three to play. He got one back with his birdie on the downwind 16th, where Geiger had to lay down and settle for par.

Scheffler and Geiger both missed good birdie opportunities on the 17th, and Scheffler had one last chance on the 18th.

Jaeger finished at 12-under 268 and entered the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time.

Defending champion Tony Finau closed with back-to-back birdies for a 66 and joined Scheffler, Tosti, Detri and Moore in a tie for second.

This was the final week for players to move into the top 50 and earn an invitation to the Masters, and no one outside the top 50 — Mackenzie Hughes and Tom Hoge had the best chances — performed well enough to earn a spot.