PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Jon Rahm might have executed with out the stress he confronted over the ultimate two hours within the Mexico Open. It nonetheless was value it to choose up his first victory because the U.S. Open final summer season.
Rahm rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th gap to drag out of a four-way tie for the lead, and he needed to make two robust pars and a end extra nervy than he anticipated.
The reduction and satisfaction was evident when he tapped in for par on the ultimate gap at Vidanta Vallarta for a one-shot victory. He pumped his arm after which pounded his fist downward, and at one level he seemed skyward and exhaled.
“In the present day was a battle,” Rahm mentioned. “However I obtained it executed.”
Rahm had a few shut calls in Mexico Metropolis when it was a World Golf Championship at Chapultepec. Now the Mexico Open, which has a historical past courting to 1944, is a daily PGA Tour occasion for the primary time. And it obtained a well-liked winner.
Towards one of many weaker fields of the yr — Rahm at No. 2 was the one participant from the highest 15 on this planet — the Spanish golfer was a heavy favourite and performed that approach from his opening 64.
“I prefer to assume each time I tee it up I am a favourite. I play to win,” Rahm mentioned. “Thankfully, I obtained my seventh PGA Tour win. It was a reasonably anxious weekend, all the way in which to the tip.”
Staked to a two-shot lead going into the ultimate spherical, he by no means trailed. Nevertheless it was by no means simple.
Rahm had a one-shot lead after his lone bogey of the spherical on the robust par-4 tenth.
Properly forward of him, Wu holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the sixteenth gap to affix him at 16 beneath. Kitayama, enjoying within the closing group with Rahm, obtained up and down from proper of the inexperienced on the par-5 twelfth to tie. After which Finau went birdie-eagle-birdie to get within the combine and capped off his 63 with a birdie to make it a four-way tie.
“I actually wished to place collectively a pleasant week and I used to be ready to do this this week and gave myself an opportunity to do one thing particular proper on the finish,” Finau. “Making a 3 on 18 in all probability would have been an enormous deal, however making that putt for birdie, quite a lot of confidence builders on a day like at this time, and I am going to carry that with me the remainder of the season.”
Rahm by no means misplaced his endurance. His chip left of the inexperienced on the par-5 14th raced 12 ft by the outlet, however he hit his finest putt of the spherical and made it for birdie for a one-shot lead.
His wedge to the fifteenth got here up brief, and his chip ran 5 by the outlet. He made that to remain in entrance after which needed to two-putt from 50 ft on the sixteenth for his par. Rahm missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the seventeenth that might have given him room for error.
Nonetheless, the closing par 5 at Vidanta Vallarta is definitely reachable, and Rahm birdied it the three earlier occasions. This time, his fade stayed straight and as an alternative of dropping into the bunker, it nestled in deep tough on a steep slope simply above the sand. He did nicely to punch that out simply over a waste space and into the green.
His method to a again pin simply trickled off the inexperienced, and he navigated the slick putt completely to a couple inches. As an alternative of ready for Kitayama and Cameron Champ to complete, Rahm shortly stepped in and closed the deal.
“I did not assume a par 5 that requires a fade that I would be stressing this a lot,” Rahm mentioned. “It wasn’t my finest placing weekend, however I stayed aggressive. I used to be assured in what I used to be doing. I think about each a part of my sport, and it confirmed.”
Champ, who like Kitayama began the ultimate spherical two pictures behind, took himself out of the combination with a triple bogey on the par-4 eighth gap. He by no means recovered, shot 70 and completed three pictures behind in a tie for sixth.
Rahm has 14 victories worldwide. He had gone 17 begins with out profitable, matching the longest such streak in his profession. The victory strikes him a bit nearer to Scottie Scheffler in his bid to reclaim the No. 1 rating, and he’ll have one other alternative on the PGA Championship in three weeks.
Rahm has a minimum of one victory in six full years as a professional.