In a battle of the two biggest names in the field, Tony Finau fended off Jon Rahm and won the Mexico Open at Vidanta for his second title of the season on Sunday in Vallarta, Mexico.
Finau denied the world No. 1 from Spain a second straight title at the relatively new PGA Tour stop at Vidanta Vallarta. Rahm had fired a third-round 61 to draw within two shots of Finau, but as the two stars contended head-to-head in the final group Sunday afternoon, Finau’s bogey-free 66 bested Rahm’s 67.
Finau turned in a 24-under 260 for the week, with Rahm taking solo second at 21-under 263.
“(Rahm) is the best. He’s on top of the world right now,” said Finau, who will move up five spots to No. 11 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I knew I was gonna have my hands full with him all the way to the end.”
Finau birdied the par-4 first hole and the par-3 fifth. Rahm responded with his first birdie of the day at the par-5 sixth while Finau parred, and both made birdie at the par-4 seventh.
It was all pars until Finau scored again at the par-3 11th, sticking his first shot to 9 feet of the pin. By then he was out of reach. Rahm was active late, adding three birdies and a bogey, but he never got close enough to make things interesting.
“It’s a great reminder that what you’ve done means absolutely nothing, you still have to go out there and do it,” the Masters champion said. “It’s also good so you don’t think too much of yourself, right? Like obviously I wanted to win, but it’s a reminder that everybody out here is a great player and Tony came out with a two-shot lead and played fantastic golf.
“I feel like had I been able to pressure him a little more, we would have seen more birdies from Tony.”
Finau previously won the Houston Open in November. Sunday marked his sixth career PGA Tour win, five of them coming in the past 20 months.
“I didn’t know this golf tournament was mine until I just hit this (18th) green here,” Finau said. “It’s crazy how this game is. You never think you have a tournament won until it’s over.”
Brandon Wu shot a 3-under 68 on Sunday to take third place at 19 under. Akshay Bhatia (70 on Sunday) was fourth at 18 under, and Eric Cole (66), Austin Smotherman (67) and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (65) tied for fifth at 16 under.
Another Argentine, Alejandro Tosti, entered the week ranked No. 444 in the world but made two eagles Sunday and shot a final-round 64 to soar into a tie for 10th at 13 under, enough to qualify for next week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
–Field Level Media