Jaeger wins Houston Open; Scheffler missed a 5-footer on the 18th

HOUSTON — Stephen Jaeger won his first PGA Tour event in his 135th attempt, finishing with nine straight pars for a 3-under 67 and avoiding a playoff when Scotty Scheffler missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday.

Scheffler was trying to become the first player in seven years to win three straight starts on the PGA Tour, and he had a chance right there. He two-putted for birdie from 20 feet on the par-5 16th and missed from 12 feet for birdie on the 17th.

His 5-foot birdie putt missed a playoff left, and Scheffler had to settle for a 68 and a runner-up finish.

“Obviously, I'm a little disappointed right now,” Scheffler said. “It would have been the same if I pulled it. I misread it. I don't know why I misread it, it's part of the game. I felt like I could have hit it with a little more pace. I hit a good putt like I wanted to and it didn't go.”

Jaeger, a 34-year-old German who entered high school in Tennessee at age 16, earned his first trip to the Masters with victory. He's in all four remaining $20 million signing events this season.

Alejandro Tosti had a chance to become the fourth PGA Tour rookie to win earlier this year. He held the lead until he chipped too hard on the 18th and missed an 18-foot par putt for a 68.

There was a five-way tie for the lead at the start — the largest on tour since 2009 — and eight players had at least a share of the lead at some point during the round.

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Jaeger was always in the mix with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth hole at Memorial Park. That was his last bird of the day and nobody could beat him.

“Trying to stay within myself,” Jaeger said. “The birdies eluded me on the back nine. But this golf course plays hard, especially when you're in the lead. I'm very happy.”

Thomas Dedry, David Skinnes and Taylor Moore fouled out at long intervals.

Scheffler was one shot behind when he missed the green on the par-3 15th and failed to save par on an 8-foot putt, leaving him two shots behind with three to play. He got a birdie back with his birdie on the 16th, where Jaeger had to lay up and go for par.

Scheffler and Jaeger both missed good birdie opportunities on the 17th, and Scheffler had one last chance on the 18th.

Jaeger finished at 12-under 268 and broke into the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time.

Defending champion Tony Finau shot a 66 with two straight birdies and moved into a tie for second with Scheffler, Dosti, Tetri and Moore.

This was the last week for players to finish in the top 50 to earn an invite to the Masters, and no one outside the top 50 — Mackenzie Hughes and Tom Hoge, who were not top prospects — performed well enough to earn a spot.

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