Charl Schwarzel shot a Sunday 69 at the Golf Club of Houston to secure a share of 13th place at the Shell Houston Open, continuing his strong run of form ahead of The Masters.
The 31-year-old birdied the 15th and 16th to wrap up the tournament on eight-under-par, which was seven shots behind winner Jim Herman.
The new champion broke into the PGA Tour winners’ circle and also secured a spot at Augusta National.
‘It’s a whirlwind. This is crazy,’ Herman said. ‘I’ve dreamt of this for a long time and now it’s here. I’m going to enjoy it. We’ll get our daughter out of school and they’ll be up at Augusta next week.’
Henrik Stenson, a former FedExCup champion and the world’s seventh-ranked player, finished second and Dustin Johnson, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and number nine in the World Ranking, was another shot back.
Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello claimed fourth place with a Sunday 65, while Daniel Berger and Russell Henley shared fifth place on 11-under-par.
For Schwartzel it was a solid result ahead of the trip to Augusta National, where he’s keen to put on another green jacket.
Earlier this season the South African won the Tshwane Open on home soil and then the Valspar Championship in the USA, so he’s ticked all of the boxes for major success.
Likewise Stenson, whose runner-up result this week marked his fourth top-15 in five starts. The big-hitting swede has been in the top-20 at The Masters for the last four years and is one of the best players yet to win a major.
Reigning Mastes champ Jordan Spieth birdied five of his first seven holes to rise into contention, but played his final 11 holes in three-over-par to share 13th place.
‘Good news is I got myself in contention,’ said the young Texan. ‘I felt the nerves, I know what I need to work on under pressure now for next week. Everything is there.’