Jon Rahm the leading stallion for Mexico Open at Vidanta
4 Min Read
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.
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 25||Puerto Rico Top 25||Mayakoba Top 25|
|01 Matt Wallace||01 Nico Echavarria||03 Will Gordon|
|02 Nicolai Hojgaard||02 Akshay Bhatia||10 Patton Kizzire|
|05 Austin Eckroat||03 Nate Lashley||10 David Lipsky|
|06 Wyndham Clark||03 Carson Young||10 Maverick McNealy|
|07 Ricky Barnes||05 Michael Kim||15 Martin Laird|
|08 Ben Martin||06 Wesley Bryan||15 Henrik Norlander|
|08 Brice Garnett||07 Cody Gribble||21 Ryan Armour|
|08 Brent Grant||07 Harry Hall||21 Matthias Schwab|
|08 Matthias Schwab||07 Harry Higgs||27 Eric Cole|
|13 Austin Cook||11 Ryan Gerard||27 Austin Cook|
|13 Harry Hall||11 Tano Goya||27 Patrick Rodgers|
|16 Jonathan Byrd||15 Kevin Chappell|
|16 Kevin Chappell||15 Grayson Murray|
|16 Doug Ghim||15 Henrik Norlander|
|16 Kelly Kraft||15 Augusto Nunez|
|16 Vincent Norrman||15 Chris Stroud|
|16 Dylan Wu||21 Derek Ernst|
|22 Henirk Norlander||21 Paul Haley II|
|22 Martin Trainer||21 Derek Lamely|
|24 Akshay Bhatia||21 Hank Lebioda|
|24 Bill Haas||21 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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