Stefani, Goosen secure cards for rest of season


HUMBLE, Texas – Retief Goosen and Shawn Stefani were playing for their cards Sunday at the Shell Houston Open. Both players finished inside the top 10 to secure their playing privileges for the rest of the season.

Stefani was making his second and final start on a minor medical extension after a late-season neck injury. He needed to finish solo 35th or better to earn the six FedEx Cup points he needed to stay on Tour. He did even better, finishing solo fifth to not only remain on Tour but also give his hopes of earning his 2014-15 card a significant boost.

“It’s a gratifying feeling that I’m not so far behind now,” said Stefani, who earned $256,000.

On Thursday, Stefani met with putting guru Dave Stockton Sr. on the putting green about two hours before his first-round tee time. It was their first-ever meeting, and they worked for the next two days on putting more feel back into Stefani’s stroke.

It worked wonders, as Stefani holed nearly 538 feet of putts during the week.

“I probably haven’t made 537 feet of putts my whole life,” he said afterward.

Goosen, meanwhile, was playing the 13th and final start on his major medical extension, which he received after undergoing disk-replacement surgery in 2012. The two-time U.S. Open champion, who has been pain-free for more than a year, needed to finish 26th or better in Houston. He tied for seventh.

“It was a bit of pressure,” he said. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been playing to keep the family fed.”