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Braden Bailey collects 1st PGA Tour paycheck

Five birdies helped Braden Bailey offset another erratic day with his driver and finish up a very respectable 51st in the Houston Open Sunday at the Golf Club of Houston.

Bailey, who had to overcome two bogeys and a double bogey in his first six holes, closed with a one-over-par 73 at the Golf Club of Houston. That left him at two-under 286 and earned him a first PGA Tour paycheck of slightly over $18,000.

Lanto Griffin finished at 274 for his first victory, winning by one stroke.

Bailey did plenty over the course of the week to validate the sponsor exemption that put him in the field. He was tied for seventh after an opening-round 67, made the cut, was low among the players given sponsor exemptions and beat several good players, including the other two PNG exes in the field.

Chris Stroud shot a two-over-par 74 Sunday and finished T61 at 289. Andrew Landry failed to make the cut after rounds of 74-72.

After three wayward drives led to penalties on Saturday, Bailey was docked two more times on Sunday on loose tee shots. His front nine of 37 was a rollercoaster ride that went birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, par, double bogey, birdie, par, par.

As in Saturday’s round, he remained unflappable in the face of adversity. After the double bogey at 6 had him two over for the day, he played the next nine holes in three under. Then he climbed back on the bogey train at 16 and 18.

Typical of his excellent iron play during the week, only one of Bailey’s five birdies was from outside 9 feet. He started the round by sinking a birdie from 11-1 on No. 1. The others came from 6-9, 9-0, 2-0 and 2-1. For the week he made 15 birdies and an eagle.

Stroud, meanwhile, did not make a birdie in his final round. He opened with 13 straight pars, then took bogeys at 14 and 18. It was his second made cut in three fall starts. He placed T48 last week in Las Vegas.

With big money events upcoming in Japan and China, the next regular PGA Tour stop is scheduled the final week of October.