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Rahm hangs on to win Mexico Open for 1st win since US Open


PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AP) — Jon Rahm pulled out of a four-way tie with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 14th gap after which held on with pars for a 2-under 69 and a one-shot victory Sunday within the Mexico Open.

Rahm gained for the primary time for the reason that U.S. Open final summer time at Torrey Pines, and the reduction confirmed within the smile and the best way he pumped his arm after which pounded down his fist after tapping in for par on the 18th at Vidanta Vallarta.

Tony Finau and Brandon Wu every closed with a 63, whereas Kurt Kitayama birdied the ultimate gap from a again bunker for a 68. They tied for second.

Against one of many weaker fields of the yr — Rahm at No. 2 was the one participant from the highest 15 on the planet — the Spaniard was a heavy favourite and he performed that manner from his opening 64. He simply didn’t really feel any expectations.

“I like to think every time I tee it up I’m a favorite. I play to win,” Rahm mentioned. “Fortunately, I got my seventh PGA Tour win. It was a pretty stressful weekend, all the way to the end.”

Staked to a two-shot lead going into the ultimate spherical, he by no means trailed. But it was by no means simple.

Rahm’s had a one-shot lead after his lone bogey of the spherical on the powerful par-4 tenth.

Well forward of him, Wu holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the sixteenth gap to hitch him at 16 beneath. Kitayama, enjoying within the ultimate group with Rahm, received up-and-down from proper of the inexperienced on the par-5 twelfth to tie. And then 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.

Rahm by no means misplaced his endurance. His chip left of the inexperienced on the par-5 14th raced 12 toes 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 quick and his chip ran 5 by the outlet. He made that to remain in entrance, after which needed to two-putt from 50 toes on the sixteenth for his par. Rahm missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the seventeenth that may have given him room for error.

Still, the closing par 5 at Vidanta Vallarta is simple reachable, and Rahm birdied it the three earlier instances. 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 golf green.

His strategy to a again pin simply trickled off the inexperienced, and he navigated the slick putt completely to a couple inches. Instead of ready for Kitayama and Cameron Champ to complete, Rahm shortly stepped in and closed the deal.

“I didn’t think a par 5 that requires a fade that I’d be stressing this much,” Rahm mentioned. “It wasn’t my best putting weekend, but I stayed aggressive. I was confident in what I was doing. I have faith in every part of my game and it showed.”

Champ, who like Kitayama began the ultimate spherical two photographs 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 photographs behind in a tie for sixth.

Rahm has 14 victories worldwide. He had gone 17 begins with out profitable, matching the longest such in is profession. The victory strikes him somewhat nearer to Scottie Scheffler in his bid to reclaim the No. 1 rating, and he’ll a have on the PGA Championship in three weeks.

The Spaniard has no less than one victory in six full years as a professional.

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