HUMBLE, Texas D.A. Points can always find a ray of light in the darkest clouds.
He arrived at the Houston Open having failed to break 70 in his past nine rounds on the PGA Tour.
He had made only two cuts in nine tournaments this year, both times finishing at the bottom of the pack. All that changed Sunday, even after a final round appropriately delayed by thunderstorms.
Points returned from the long delay to make four pars, the last one on a putt from 12 feet that gave him a one-shot victory in the Houston Open.
It also provided another two-year exemption on tour. And he's on his way back to the Masters.
"I never count myself out," Points said. "I never just chalk it up like, 'Oh, this year is over with.' I've never felt like that. I was just grinding, just trying to wait and try to find that one thing that like, 'Boom! There it is.' And there I go. Fortunately, it was this week and I capitalized on it."
A dozen players had a chance to win on the back nine. Only in the final hour did Points seize control, and then he had to work hard not to lose the lead.
A 5-iron to the 17th green came up 40 yards short, and he chipped to tap-in range to take a one-shot lead to the tough 18th. He hit a hybrid from 231 yards that nearly went into the bunker, leaving another long chip. This one came up shorter than he wanted, but the putt was true.
"I've been having a really tough year," Points said. "To have a putt to win, you want that starting out every week. I would have liked for it to have been closer."
Points closed with a 6-under-par 66, the final putt helping him avoid a playoff with Masters-bound Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel, who also shot 66s.
Stenson birdied his last two holes before storms rolled across Houston, and while he came up one shot short of victory, he moved up to No. 42 in the world ranking to earn an invitation to the Masters. Horschel was on the 18th tee when play was halted, and then had to wait for his turn to hit on the tough driving hole. He split the fairway, found the green and two-putted for par to join Stenson in the clubhouse lead. They waited around for a playoff that wasn't necessary when Points saved par on his last two holes.
Phil Mickelson (68) opened his final round with four straight birdies, and he was still in the picture until a three-putt double bogey on the 14th hole.
Charles Howell III rallied with a 66 but wound up four shots from where he needed to finish to get into the top 50 and the Masters.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Marcel Siem won the Hassan Trophy in Morocco. That moved him to the cusp of the top 50, but Siem fell short when Russell Henley closed with a 68 at the Houston Open to tie for 45th, just enough to earn points and stay a fraction of a point ahead of Siem, who went from No. 72 to No. 51.