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Final Masters Spot Up For Grabs At Houston Open
The 2015 Masters starts a week from Thursday and the invitees to Augusta have all been determined except for possibly one: the winner of this week's Shell Houston Open will claim the final spot if he isn't already eligible. Texan Jordan Spieth is the 6/1 favorite at Bovada for the Houston Open. Two other likely favorites, Jimmy Walker, who won last week's Valero Texas Open, and Swede Henrik Stenson, withdrew early this week from the Houston Open.
Spieth Clearly In Form
Walker, who lives outside San Antonio won the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio by four shots to become the first to win multiple times on the PGA Tour this season. Spieth, who resides in the Dallas area, finished second, two weeks after winning the Valspar Championship in the Tampa Bay area. Spieth, 21, came into the Texas Open ranked sixth in the world and is aiming higher.
“I'd like to at some point be the number one ranked player in the world,” he said earlier in the week. “I'd like to win at least one major championship, try to get one before we look forward from there. But ultimately I'd like to be one of the best players to ever play the game.”
With the win, Spieth moved to career-high No. 4 in the world.
"That's cool as I am inching closer and closer each week," he said. "I am just trying to take advantage of it but then I'm not pinching myself, because there's still three guys ahead of me, so I'm just trying to climb up."
The second-place finish was Spieth's eighth top seven in his past nine starts worldwide. He is entering the conversation for best player not named Rory McIlroy, and if he continues to putt with confidence, he might go on a two-tournament run, also winning next week's Masters. He will be a favorite there, although likely behind McIlroy and defending champion Bubba Watson.
Rest Of The Favorites
Last year at this tournament, Aussie Matt Jones authored one of the shots of the 2013-14 season en route to his breakthrough victory here last year. His hole-out from off the green for birdie to defeat Matt Kuchar in a playoff was only possible because he buried a 46-footer for birdie on the same hole in regulation.
Kuchar (12/1): Kuchar probably should have won this event last year, where a 72nd-hole bogey dropped him into a playoff with Jones. Kuchar also finished T-8 in both 2010 and 2011 and returns off a T-15 finish at Valero, his seventh top-25 finish of the season.
Patrick Reed (14/1): Reed won earlier this year in Hawaii and lost in a playoff in Tampa in his most recent start. While his Houston record includes only a missed cut in 2013, he is eighth on Tour in total strokes gained and has six top-25 finishes in nine starts this season.
J.B. Holmes (20/1): He has been playing some great golf, a missed cut at Bay Hill aside. He’s been in the top 12 three times since 2009 at Houston, including a playoff loss in ’09. Holmes has had several opportunities to win this year, but he hasn't been able to get it done on Sunday. He can hit the ball a country mile, which should help on this long Texas track.
No Tiger Woods or McIlroy in this tournament, while Phil Mickelson is 25/1 to win, which he did in 2011.
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