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  • Canadian Nesbitt shoots Sunday 62 on his way to first title

  • Drew Nesbitt from Canada posing with the tournament trophy after his victory at the 60th Abierto Mexicano de Golf at Club Campestre de Tijuana. (Aquiles Duarte)
    Drew Nesbitt from Canada posing with the tournament trophy after his victory at the 60th Abierto Mexicano de Golf at Club Campestre de Tijuana. (Aquiles Duarte)
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  • TIJUANA, Mexico—Despite shooting PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s only 59 in history, Canadian Drew Nesbitt had never finished a tournament better than tied for 21st. That stat nugget became irrelevant Sunday when Nesbitt fired a final-round 62 at Tijuana Country Club to win the Abierto Mexicano de Golf by two shots over Norway’s Andreas Halvorsen and Chile’s Gustavo Silva.

    The win catapulted Nesbitt from 85th on the Order of Merit when the week began to No. 9. Besides the $31,500 payday, Nesbitt also qualified for next week’s Bupa Match Play, open to the top-60 money-winners through this week’s tournament. Nesbitt, completing his round about an hour before the final group finished, closed the tournament in style, banging home a 45-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to post at 17-under, a total no one could match. He then waited around the clubhouse to see if his number would hold up. It did.

    “Those are the moments as a kid you dream of. You watch on TV and those Tiger (Woods) moments when he makes those long putts. You hope one day that can be you, and today was that day,” said Nesbitt of both his win and his final stroke of the tournament. “It just turned out that I hit a great putt, and it went in.

    “It was the cap off to a perfect week,” continued Nesbitt, whose previous-best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica finish was that tie for 21st in Argentina earlier this season, at the Molino Cañuelas Championship. He tied for 49th at the JHSF Brazil Open last September, the week of his second-round 59.

    Sunday, Nesbitt did most of his damage on the front nine, opening his day with a birdie and adding three more birdies plus an eagle, at No. 9, to turn in 29. He had one bogey on the back, at the par-4 12th, but he more than made up for that miscue with birdies at Nos. 10 and 15 and the dramatic putt at the 18th.
    Matt Ryan and Silva, the co-54-hole leaders, couldn’t seem to get too far out of neutral Sunday. After making eight consecutive pars midway through his round, Ryan moved to within one shot of Nesbitt when he birdied the 15th. He gave that stroke right back with a bogey on the par-3 16th and added another bogey at No. 17 to end his chances with an even-par 70. Silva, meanwhile, started slowly, with bogeys on two of his first three holes but was back to even-par when he made the back-nine turn. He managed only one birdie the rest of the way, with eight pars.

    Silva’s tie for second was a career-high performance, while Ryan tied for fourth with Monday qualifier Matthew Pinizzotto, Sulman Raza and Rodrigo Lee.

    Did you know the week Drew Nesbitt shot the only 59 in PGA TOUR Latinoamérica history last year at the JHSF Brazil Open, he did not shoot a round in the 60s? His scores: 79-59-73-70.

    Key Information

    Order of Merit Standings

    Pos.

    Player (Country)

    Earnings

    1

    Tom Whitney (U.S.)

    $51,400

    2

    Augusto Núñez (Argentina)

    $43,315

    3

    Mito Pereira (Chile)

    $42,607

    4

    Jared Wolfe (U.S.)

    $42,555

    5

    Ryan Ruffels (Australia)

    $41,741

    6

    Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)

    $38,624

    7

    John Somers (U.S.)

    $38,469

    8

    Andreas Halvorsen (Norway)

    $37,537

    9

    Drew Nesbitt (Canada)

    $34,060

    10

    Evan Harmeling (U.S.)

    $33,898

    Final Qualifiers for Bupa Match Play

    Pos.

    Player (Country)

    Earnings

    55

    Matthew Pinizzotto (U.S.)

    $6,891

    56

    Camilo Aguado (Colombia)

    $6,832

    57

    Tano Goya (Argentina)

    $6,633

    58

    Patrick Flavin (U.S.)

    $6,326

    59

    Juan Pablo Luna (Colombia)

    $6,302

    60

    Chase Hanna (U.S.)

    $6,305

    • Next week’s Bupa Match Play in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, will have a completely set field once eligible players decide if they accept invitations to play. If there are players who decline, the next-available players will be selected to fill out the 60-player field. Four additional players from Mexico will join—getting the total to 64 players—after an 18-hole qualifier Monday.

    • Norway’s Andreas Halvorsen tied Drew Nesbitt for the low round of the day, with his 8-under 62. Halvorsen shot a 29 that included a birdie-eagle stretch to finish his opening nine holes. His tie for second is his best finish of the campaign, bettering the third-place showing he had at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in Argentina in April.

    • Matthew Pinizzotto made the most of his first start of the season after Monday-qualifying into the tournament. He opened with a 63 to take the first-round lead and closed with a Sunday 64 at Tijuana Country Club to tie for fourth. His finish qualifies him for the next stroke-play tournament when the second half of the season begins, and he qualified for the Bupa Match Play, with his $6,891 payday moved him to No. 55 on the Order of Merit.

    • Sulman Raza, Matthew Pinizzotto’s teammate at UCLA, easily had his best performance of the season. He entered this week 70th on the Order of Merit, with a tie for 14th his best finish among his two made cuts in six starts. He also qualified for the Bupa Match Play, going from 70th place to 34th on the Order of Merit.

    • It was quite a week for UCLA golfers from the 2014-15 Bruin squad on the PGA TOUR’s international tours. Besides Matthew Pinizzotto and Sulman Raza playing well in Tijuana, Jake Knapp won the Mackenzie Tour’s season-opening Canada Life Open in Vancouver, with former teammate Lorens Chan tying for fourth, three shots behind Knapp. Another Bruin from that team, Corey Shaun, tied for 21st at this week’s PGA TOUR Series-China’s Nantong Championship.

    • Even though he had already shot three rounds in the 60s, Mexico’s Sebastian Vazquez acquitted himself nicely Sunday, shooting a 7-under 63 to move up 24 places into a tie for ninth. He was the low player from Mexico in this national open.

    • Raúl Pereda and Fernando Cruz Valle both had solid finishes to their tournaments. The duo entered the day tied for 26th, with both Pereda and Cruz Valle firing 67s Sunday to tie for 19th. The other Mexicans to make the cut included Raúl Cortez (tied for 41st) and David Faraudo (tied for 44th), Cristian Romero and Isidro Benitez (tied for 46th), Gonzalo Rubio (tied for 54th) and Nicholas Maruri (tied for 58th).

    • By tying for ninth, Mito Pereira kept alive his streak of consecutive top-10s. The results of Pereira’s last five starts: tied for fifth, tied for seventh, tied for fifth, fifth and this week’s tie for ninth.

    • Tied for third when the final round began, Canada’s Sebastian Szirmak struggled to a 1-over 71 and a tie for 19th.

    • England’s Greg Eason made the sixth hole-in-one of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season when he aced the par-3 sixth Sunday. That was part of a run where he was 5-under in six holes. Eason went on to tie for 19th. The other 2019 holes-in-one have come from Andrés Echavarría, Herik Machado, Fredrik Lindblom, John Coultas and Hunter Richardson.

    • Tom Whitney maintained his No. 1 position on the Order of Merit. He shot four rounds in the 60s and tied for 19th. He is $8,085 ahead of Augusto Núñez.

    • There were 33 sub-70 scores for the day against 46 a day earlier. Fifteen players had scores of 66 or better. A day earlier, 19 players did that.

    Quotable

    “It’s incredible. This is the dream, to play on the PGA TOUR, and this is a steppingstone to that.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “The formula proves that the players who can win at this level tend to be able to win at the higher levels. I hope this is the first of more chances to compete and move up in the rank.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “You don’t expect it, but you have positive thoughts and you believe in your ability. When you believe in your ability, and you know you can go low—and I’ve had a history of being able to do that and doing that in tournaments—I just believed if today was my day, and it turned out to be, I would be able to accomplish what I wanted.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “The birdie on one was probably the whole kickoff to the round. I made about a 25-footer—if not more. I just kept going from there.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “The crowds and the fans and the hospitality here were amazing. The win in general is amazing. The fact it came in Mexico is great. I loved it here.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “I just expect to do what I have been doing, and that is to believe in my ability.” –Drew Nesbitt

    “Right now, I have to control what I can, and that’s my attitude toward the game, how I prepare and how I go about my business.” –Drew Nesbitt

    Tournament Fast Fact

    A year ago, 11 players—including champion Austin Smotherman—put together four rounds in the 60s. This year, 14 players pulled off the feat at the par-70 Tijuana Country Club.

    Fourth-Round Weather Report

    Rainy in the morning, but it did not delay play. Mostly cloudy. High of 63. Wind W at 7-9 mph.