Poulter wins in playoff, earns Masters shot

Poulter wins in playoff, earns Masters shot

The Englishman brilliantly birdied the 18th hole at the Golf Club of Houston to set up a sudden-death shoot-out with American rookie Beau Hossler and then calmly parred the first extra hole as his rival twice found sand and then water coming back down the 18th.

Using the same putter he wielded so effectively to lead Europe to victory in the 2012 Ryder Cup, he came through in the clutch yet again to force the playoff.

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.

Hossler had the chance to close Poulter out on the last but couldn't get his 30-foot birdie putt to fall.

Poulter and Hossler finished 19 under overall, three strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth and Emiliano Grillo in third place.

He punched his chest with his right fist five times in excitement after the putt dropped in, a minute after Hossler had grazed the hole with a birdie attempt of his own that would have clinched victory.

That not only earned Poulter his first stroke play victory on USA soil - at the 241st attempt - it also earned him the golden ticket to Augusta reserved for the victor.

"I had to dig deep today", said Poulter, who closed with a 5-under 67. "I thought Beau hit a good putt, I thought he holed it". This was his first strokeplay win in America and his first anywhere since his "year from the gods" in 2012.

Just last week, towards the end of the WGC Match Play, Poulter was told he had earned himself a spot in the Masters when in fact he had not.

"This one's for Katie, my wife", Poulter said. I've been injured, and it's been hard.

A double bogey at the par-four sixth, a bogey on the 11th and then a triple bogey eight on the par-five 13th saw him fall down the leaderboard to finish tied for 17th on nine under with a 73. The last time he shot a 67 in his final round before the Masters was in 2006.

That sort of putting wins Green Jackets, not just warm-up events.

Defending champion Russell Henley is tied for 48th after carding a three-under 69.

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