PGA: Stephan Jaeger emerges from pack to win Houston Open

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Stephan Jaeger made nine consecutive pars on the back nine and held off a crowded field of contenders to win the Texas Children’s Houston Open for his first career PGA Tour victory on Sunday at Memorial Park Golf Course.

The 34-year-old from Germany had won on the Korn Ferry Tour six times, but he earned his breakthrough PGA victory by shooting a final-round, 3-under 67 to card a 12-under 268 for the week.

“I felt like I was hitting good shots, hitting good putts, they just weren’t dropping,” Jaeger said. “I didn’t feel like I was playing defense at all, it just — this game’s very hard. It’s hard to win on the PGA Tour and I’m super glad that I made it.”

Jaeger missed a birdie try at the par-4 18th and tapped in for par to put the pressure on World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who was vying for his third victory in as many starts.

Scheffler had stuck his approach shot to 5 1/2 feet and would have forced a playoff with Jaeger with a birdie. But his putt trickled just to the left of the cup.

“Obviously playing Scottie last couple days, he’s been on a tear, so to kind of slay the dragon a little bit this week was amazing,” Jaeger said. “He’s such a good dude, such a good player, I was just happy to play with him a couple days.”

Jaeger was tied for the lead through 54 holes with Scheffler, England’s David Skinns, Belgium’s Thomas Detry and rookie Alejandro Tosti of Argentina. Jaeger had four birdies and one bogey on his front nine before the steady finish.

“I’m super excited to get it done,” he said. “I couldn’t have dreamt a better way to finishing and beating (the) No. 1 player in the world.”

Scheffler finished the day with four birdies and two bogeys; he had gotten back to 11 under with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 16th but failed to tie it up after that.

“I put up a good fight, felt like I had some weird breaks this week,” said Scheffler, who was likely ruing a three-putt double bogey on his final hole Friday. “That’s kind of the thing, like it’s tough to describe, but obviously I’m a bit disappointed.”

Regarding his attempt to force a playoff on Sunday: “I didn’t think it was going to move very much and I tried to hit it straight and I feel like I started right in the middle and looked like it broke off pretty hard, so just a misread,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler posted a 68 and finished in a five-way tie for second with defending champion Tony Finau (66 on Sunday), Taylor Moore (67), Detry (68) and Tosti (68).

Tosti was in a tie for the lead after birdieing the 16th, but a bad drive and a long chip on the 18th left him a tough 19-footer for par that he could not make to stay at 12 under.

“It was just a terrible lie. I had to almost grind the club by the shaft,” Tosti said. “Yeah, I thought it was going to come out a little bit slow because also the ball was seating and it took off. Just really sad that the ball didn’t hole on the second shot. I was out of position and tried to play smart, but I had a great day.”

–Field Level Media

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