Jon Rahm back in winner’s circle after wire-to-wire victory in Mexico
Jon Rahm began the week as the betting favorite to win the PGA Tour’s inaugural Mexico Open. He finished it as the wire-to-wire winner. Here’s everything you need to know from Sunday’s final round at Vidanta in Vallarta, Mexico:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-17), Kurt Kitayama (-16), Brandon Wu (-16), Tony Finau (-16), Davis Riley (-15)
How it happened: Rahm opened the week with a 7-under 64 that tied Kitayama for the first-round lead. He then built a two-shot lead after 54 holes. While Rahm’s final-group mates Kitayama and Cameron Champ, who both birdied three of their first seven holes, tied Rahm’s lead at 16 under midway through the front nine, Rahm never lost his hold on the solo lead thanks to birdies at Nos. 6 and 7. Kitayama and Wu, with a closing birdie, drew even with Rahm on the back side until Rahm holed an 11-footer for birdie at the par-5 14th hole. “That birdie on 14 was key,” Rahm said. “That was one good putt that I saw go in, and it was a very good visual.”
Champ’s run ended with a costly triple bogey at the par-4 eighth, where he had to play his second shot sideways after an errant tee shot nearly found the water, and Kitayama’s second shot at No. 14 went well long and led to bogey. Rahm, clinging to a one-shot lead for the last few holes, got into trouble off the tee at the par-5 finishing hole, driving it into a severe sidehill lie just left of the left fairway bunker. But he cleanly advanced his next shot about 85 yards to give himself a wedge in, and a two-putt from the back fringe was good enough to seal the win and avoid a playoff.
What it means: Rahm’s victory marks his seventh on the PGA Tour but first since last summer’s win at the U.S. Open. It’s also his first wire-to-wire win on Tour.
Rounds of the day: The course record fell on Sunday, not once but twice. First it was Wu, who eagled the sixth hole to go along with six birdies, including a 25-foot make at No. 16, as he fired an 8-under 63. Finau then matched Wu, only his eagle came at No. 14 and was part of a 5-under finish over the last six holes, and they both shared the clubhouse lead for a few moments at 16 under. It nearly earned them extra holes.
Shot of the day: Finau’s eagle on No. 14, where he rolled one in from nearly 60 feet and off the green.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Rodgers. Just three shots back at the start of the day, the former Stanford standout had talked after his third round about channeling some advice he had been given by Jack Nicklaus. Specifically, Rodgers’ key to winning Sunday would be, as Nicklaus had done, to not try to win the tournament but rather let it “fall his way in the end.” This time, though, Rodgers was unsuccessful. As several players shot up the leaderboard, Rodgers was stuck in neutral. He shot 70 and finished solo 10th.
Winning quote: “I don’t really look at bets or anything like that. I like to think every time I tee it up I’m the favorite. … Pretty stressful weekend all the way to the end. I did not think that having a par-5 where a fade of the tee shot was required I’d be stressing this much, but I got it done in the end.” – Rahm