Grading the Houston Open

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

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Matt Kuchar only needed to hit a hybrid out of the fairway on No. 18 on Sunday at the Houston Open and then two-putt for his seventh PGA Tour win.

Instead, he hit it in the water and lost on the most insane shot of the season so far in a playoff to an Australian named Matt Jones.

Big troubles, right?

Not so fast.

As Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel laid out here, winning the week before the Masters does not portend to winning the Masters.

In fact, in the past 25 years only Phil Mickelson has made the Masters the second of two straight wins.

I'm less concerned with what Kuchar did or didn't do at the very end of the tournament and more impressed that he's playing some of the best golf of his career.

Top 10s in five of his past eight PGA Tour events and each of his past two Masters. That's the stuff of green jacket winners.

A disappointed Kuchar spoke after his loss on Sunday.

"I'm hoping to keep improving," he said. "I'm hoping to keep the train going."

It seems silly but maybe there's something to that "you don't want to win the week before a major" thing.

Somebody on Twitter suggested that's what Sergio Garcia was thinking when he inexplicably laid up on the final hole even though he knew he needed birdie. It seems more plausible with Sergio, though, given the madness that coarses through his brain.

Still, I'm not wavering on my pick for Kuchar as the 2014 Masters champ. His game is really cranking right now and despite the final outcome (he lost on a 46-foot putt and 40-yard chip!) he has the goods right now.

He finished T4 last week in San Antonio and second alone this week. I think those were but precursors to a bigger win ahead in just one week.

One he'll treasure for the rest of his golf career.

Here are our grades for the Houston Open:

ALost in the craziness of Matt Jones' chip-in off the 18th green in the playoff? The craziness of his 46-foot putt just to get in it. Finish: Win
AI don't know why but Sergio Garcia laid up on the final hole out of the sand knowing he needed birdie. I don't know why Sergio does anything Sergio does, though. Finish: 3
AMatt Kuchar is still my pick for Augusta despite his ability to close things down in Houston. Finish: 2
ARickie Fowler had maybe his best week of the year. A steadiness that will do him well at the majors. Finish: T7
BPhil Mickelson was pretty good despite an "I just want to be in Georgia" look going all weekend. Said he's nervous about his form going to Augusta but I think he'll be fine. Finish: T12
FIan Poulter was already tweeting photos from Augusta before the leaders teed off on Sunday. Probably not what he wanted but hey, he got a little extra work in. Finish: Cut

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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