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Jon Rahm the leading stallion for Mexico Open at Vidanta

4 Min Read

Horses for Courses

    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    It’s as obvious as the nose on your face but defending champion Jon Rahm (+250) is simply the clear horse for the course ahead of the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

    Motivation is plentiful for the world No.1. He's looking to defend a title for the first time and become the first five-time winner in a season since Justin Thomas in 2017.

    The course fits his eye and the strengths of his game. The Masters champion sat second in Ball-Striking and SG: Off the Tee and was third SG: Tee to Green on the way to victory a year ago.

    Just one of three players to post all four rounds in the 60s, he co-led the field in Bogey Avoidance. The Spaniard will point out that only one hole, No. 10, gave him difficulty on the week. The par-4, 475-yard beginner to the inward nine supplied three of his five squares. Playing the par 5s in 12-under (T2) and the short par-4 7th in four-under, were the keys to his victory in the scoring department. After sharing the first-round lead on 64 he sat atop the leaderboard alone for the final three rounds.

    Tony Finau (+750) needed 18 holes to get settled in last year on one of longest tracks on TOUR at 7,456 yards, but after he did, look out! The big-hitter sprinted to the finish line on Sunday, closing with a bogey-free 63 to share the course record. After his opening round even-par 71, he breezed his final 54 holes in 16-under to share second. Sitting seven shots off the 54-hole lead, the Sunday sprint gave something for Rahm to track in his rear-view mirror. Leading the field in SG: Tee to Green, nobody hit more GIR (60/72) and had better Proximity to the hole from the fairway. He also matched Rahm's five bogeys on the week. Imagine if he made anything on the Paspalum greens! Finau's first win was on Paspalum in Puerto Rico way back in 2016.

    Joining Finau on the podium sharing second place was Brandon Wu (+5500). With only one year of the event in the record books, I'm also looking at other Paspalum tracks for clues. Entering this event last year the Stanford grad cashed T3 at Puerto Rico (Paspalum) and T28 at Corales (Paspalum) before sharing second here. Playing his final 37 holes bogey-free, Wu matched Finau on Sunday with a bogey-free 63 and matched Rahm squaring only five bogeys. Both players started seven strokes behind Rahm's 54-hole solo lead. A steady week through the bag saw him finish in the top eight in SG: Off the Tee, SG: Approach, and SG: Putting.

    Oddsmaker's Extra

    David Lipsky (+8000): T6, three shots back. One of only three who posted four rounds in the 60s. One of three who closed with 64. Led the field SG: Approach. Only Finau hit more GIR, but only two players needed MORE putts for the week.

    Cameron Champ (+12500): T6, three shots back. Posted 70 on Sunday, which included a triple bogey. Led the field in SG: Off the Tee. Circled 23 birdies, second best on the week. Fourth SG: Putting.

    Alex Smalley (+5500): T6, three shots back. Opened 66-66 to sit solo second (Rahm) after 36 holes. Second to Finau in Par-4 Scoring Average. T2 at Corales 2022. Sat fifth SG: Off the Tee.

    Patrick Rodgers (+2800): Solo 10th. Tied with Lipsky for second-most GIR. Sat fourth SG: Off the Tee. Top five in both Par-4 and Par-5 scoring. Solo fifth at Greg Norman's Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio recently.

    Previous Paspalum 2022-2023 Season:

    (only if entered this week)

    Corales Top 25Puerto Rico Top 25Mayakoba Top 25
    01 Matt Wallace01 Nico Echavarria03 Will Gordon
    02 Nicolai Hojgaard02 Akshay Bhatia10 Patton Kizzire
    05 Austin Eckroat03 Nate Lashley10 David Lipsky
    06 Wyndham Clark03 Carson Young10 Maverick McNealy
    07 Ricky Barnes05 Michael Kim15 Martin Laird
    08 Ben Martin06 Wesley Bryan15 Henrik Norlander
    08 Brice Garnett07 Cody Gribble21 Ryan Armour
    08 Brent Grant07 Harry Hall21 Matthias Schwab
    08 Matthias Schwab07 Harry Higgs27 Eric Cole
    13 Austin Cook11 Ryan Gerard27 Austin Cook
    13 Harry Hall11 Tano Goya27 Patrick Rodgers
    16 Jonathan Byrd15 Kevin Chappell
    16 Kevin Chappell15 Grayson Murray
    16 Doug Ghim15 Henrik Norlander
    16 Kelly Kraft15 Augusto Nunez
    16 Vincent Norrman15 Chris Stroud
    16 Dylan Wu21 Derek Ernst
    22 Henirk Norlander21 Paul Haley II
    22 Martin Trainer21 Derek Lamely
    24 Akshay Bhatia21 Hank Lebioda
    24 Bill Haas21 Vincent Norrman
    21 Scott Piercy
    21 Richy Werenski

    How it works:

    Field of 144 with the top 65 and ties playing the final round.

    Vidanta Vallarta Resort, designed by Greg Norman, plays par-71 (35-36) and tips out at 7,546 yards.

    Course has five par 3s and four par 5s. The inward nine is home to three of the four par-5 holes.

    Prize pool of $7.7 million with the winner taking home $1.386 million plus 500 FedExCup points.

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