By Richard Dean
Mickelson fan of Houston Open
Phil Mickelson knows the tradition of the Houston Open and what the longstanding PGA TOUR event, as well as the Houston Golf Association, mean to the Houston-area community.
The Houston Open, currently looking for a title sponsor, is a tournament Mickelson has been loyal to for years and is appreciative of what the tournament has meant to him personally and professionally.
“I know all the players certainly have loved coming here,” said Mickelson, who won here in 2011 and who shared 24th this year at 10 under. “We’ve enjoyed the community involvement, we’ve enjoyed the charitable contributions that this tournament provides, especially now in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“And from a golf tournament, it’s got a lot of history here. So I’m hoping that as much good as the Houston Golf Association does, as much good as this tournament does, I’m hopeful that we’ll find a sponsor to step up and continue this strong event.”
Bombs away for Henley
When Russell Henley rolled in a 44-foot birdie putt on the finishing hole on Sunday to go to 13 under, the Houston Open defending champion completed a 7-under 65 round that included 145 feet, 3 inches of total yardage of made putts on Sunday.
On Saturday, Henley’s made putts over 18 holes totaled only 48 feet, 2 inches.
His 44-foot bomb on the 18th hole Sunday was his longest made putt of the tournament.
“It was tracking, it held the line nicely,” Henley said. “Right down at the hole it actually breaks a little bit back towards the back of the green. It started out breaking left and then it breaks a little back to the right. So it did what I thought it was going to do and it’s sweet to make a putt like that.
“The greens are great, they’re always so good here. I just feel like the greens do what I think they’re going to do. So if I put the ball in the correct line, I feel like going to make some putts. It was nice to finish with a birdie.”
In last year’s Houston Open, Henley overcame a 4-shot third-round deficit to beat Sung Kang by also posting a 65 on the final day to beat Kang by 3 shots. It was Henley’s third career PGA TOUR win.
Henley said it was a good feeling to walk the Golf Club of Houston course for four days as the returning champion.
“I’ve been fortunate to do that a few times and it’s good, it’s fun, it gives you confidence knowing you’ve done it before,” Henley said. “Know I can just stick to my game plan if I want to play well here. It was a fun time.”
Burgoon pleased with finish
Aside from Saturday’s third-round 75, Bronson Burgoon of The Woodlands had a positive week at the Houston Open, finishing 10 under following his final-round 68.
“A very productive weekend,” said the 30-year-old Burgoon, who won two state individual titles (2003, 2005) starring at The Woodlands High School, and helped Texas A&M to the 2009 national championship. “I drove it well, played pretty solid all the way through. I didn’t do anything spectacular but I did nothing bad really.”
Burgoon was bogey free on Sunday until bogeying the treacherous 18th hole. His 68 was a vast improvement from Saturday, his only bad round when he played his last four holes in 4 over.
Burgoon played junior golf in tournaments conducted by the Houston Golf Association. His best finish on the PGA TOUR this season is a tie of 17th at the Safeway Open. He secured his PGA card for the 2017-18 season with a ninth-place finish on the 2017 Web.com Tour Finals money list.
“I would like to contend and that’s why we’re out here, but it’s progressing in the right way,” said Burgoon, who shared sixth place at 9 under after Friday’s second round of the Houston Open, just 2 shots back of second-round leader Beau Hossler. “And out here (on tour) I can get my feet wet a little.”
Odds and ends
Since the Houston Open moved to the Tournament Course in 2006, seven third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win. Ian Poulter (2018), Jim Herman (2016), Phil Mickelson (2011), Anthony Kim (2010), Paul Casey (2009), Johnson Wagner (2008) and Stuart Appleby (2006). …Beau Hossler started his final round with seven straight pars before making his first of five birdies on the round at No. 8 and four consecutive later on holes 12-15. …In his sixth start at the Houston Open, Jordan Spieth offset a bogey at the par-4 10th hole with five birdies and an eagle-3 at No. 4 to post a 6-under-66, good for a share of third with Emiliano Grillo. Spieth sank a 29-foot par putt on 18 to claim the top-five finish. Spieth made 21 birdies and an eagle over the course of the week. …Grillo’s finish is his best since a tie for second at the 2016 The Northern Trust. …Sam Ryder, the last player in the field when Vaughn Taylor withdrew, finished fifth. …For the second week in a row, rookie Keith Mitchell made 22 birdies, tied for third in the field. Mitchell led the field at last week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.