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Golf: Stenson claims clubhouse lead at storm-hit PGA event

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Sweden's Henrik Stenson birdied four of the last five holes to seize the clubhouse lead when a thunderstorm halted play on Sunday in the final round of the $6.2 million PGA Houston Open.

Stenson, a former top-five player whose effort will enable him to qualify for the Masters, fired a six-under par 66 to finish 72 holes on 15-under 273.

"To be heading back to Augusta is really special for me. I'm extremely happy with what I've done," Stenson said. "It's a very pleasing finish to birdie four of my last five holes. I played some great shots coming down the stretch."

American D.A. Points, who birdied three of the first four holes on the back nine, was on the course at 16-under with four holes to finish when play resumed. Points said his basic strategy will not change because of the delay.

"It doesn't affect me personally, other than the conditions, how the greens will be, how muddy it will be out there," he said. "Same game plan. If I have a shot I think I can get close to the hole, I'm going to try to get it close."

American Billy Horschel was level with Stenson at 15-under with only the 18th hole remaining.

Dustin Johnson was in the clubhouse at 14-under 274, level with fellow American Jason Kokrak, who had only completed 15 holes when the horn sounded stopping play with 12 players still on the course.

"I played really well," Johnson said. I played a lot better than that but I'm not complaining shooting 65 or Sunday. I left a few shots out there."

In all, eight players had seized at least a share of the lead during the interrupted last-round shootout for the $1.08 million top prize.

Rory McIlroy, who could have reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking from Tiger Woods with a victory this week, matched his best round of the event with a two-under 70 to finish on 284.

He birdied the last two holes on both the front and back nines but consecutive bogeys at 11 and 12 set him back.

Stenson found a fairway bunker and took a bogey at the par-5 13th.

"That was the only bad hole I had," Stenson said. "I was happy with the way I came back after that. I have been patient all week."

The Swede put his tee shot at the par-3 14th just inches from the cup for a tap-in birdie, followed with a birdie at the par-5 15th and a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4 17th.

"I've putted well all week but I haven't made that much," Stenson said. "It was good to see that go in on 17."

Stenson finished by sinking a testy nine-foot birdie putt at 18, which had surrendered only four prior birdies all day.

"I didn't know it was only four birdies," Stenson said.

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