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  • Flavin finishes dream week to win Bupa Match Play

  • American Patrick Flavin holding the Bupa Match Play trophy after his victory at Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club on Sunday afternoon. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    American Patrick Flavin holding the Bupa Match Play trophy after his victory at Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club on Sunday afternoon. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico—In his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament start in March, Patrick Flavin tied for 14th at the Buenaventura Classic in Panama. It was an encouraging start for the former Miami University golfer. Following ties for 40th and ties for 16th in his next two events, Flavin was playing solid, consistent golf. Then he hit a slump, missing his next four cuts. Last week at the Abierto Mexicano de Golf in Tijuana, Flavin finished at 7-over, not coming close to getting to the weekend.

    Not exactly on a hot streak when the Bupa Match Play began, Flavin, the 53rd seed, got hot once he arrived here. All the Illinois native did at Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club was win six consecutive matches, his final triumph a 1-up victory over Brazil’s Rodrigo Lee, on his way to his first professional title. The victory was worth $30,000 and vaulted him from No. 58 on the Order of Merit to No. 9. So much for any slump.

    To get to the finals, Flavin edged Argentina’s Tommy Cocha in 19 holes in their semifinals match Sunday morning. He handed Cocha only his second loss in nine matches, dating to last year. Meanwhile, in the Battle of Brazil, No. 31 seed Rodrigo Lee outlasted No. 11 Alex Rocha, 1-up—setting up the final 18-hole duel.

    In his semifinal match with Cocha, Flavin led for 12 consecutive holes until Cocha caught him at No. 15. Cocha then took a 1-up lead with a hole to play, forcing Flavin to win the final hole or go home. He parred to Cocha’s bogey, and that moved the proceedings to a playoff, with Flavin winning on the first extra hole as he rolled in a 13-foot birdie pump followed by an emphatic fist pump.

    In the final, Lee won the first hole, Flavin won the second and third and never trailed after that. Lee made the match all square at No. 6, Flavin retook the lead at No. 7 and moved 4-up with six holes to play when he rolled in a 15-foot slider for birdie.

    “That was a huge putt. That was the first time I thought, Oh, crap. I might win this thing,” he said.

    Immediately after those thoughts, though, Flavin lost the next two holes and saw his advantage drop to 1-up with one hole to play. The two players halved the 18th hole, and the victory was Flavin’s.

    “I can’t even believe it,” said Flavin, moments after his win. “Coming into this week, I’d been struggling with my scores. But I knew my game was there. I kept the belief and tried to focus on one thing at a time.” said Flavin, something he obviously did exceedingly well through his six matches.  

    “In my first match, with Santiago Gómez,” he continued, “I got off to a really hot start with a ton of birdies, and I just continued to feed off that all week. Really, I just tried to keep the blinders on and focus on my thoughts.”

    As PGA TOUR Latinoamérica observes a three-month break, with the season resuming in September, nobody is going to enjoy the time off as much as Flavin.

    For hole-by-hole results, click here

    Bupa Match Play
    Semifinal Results

    (53) Patrick Flavin (U.S.) defeated (25) Tommy Cocha (Argentina), 19 holes
    (31) Rodrigo Lee (Brazil) defeated (11) Alex Rocha (Brazil), 1-up

    Finals
    (53) Patrick Flavin (U.S.) defeated (31) Rodrigo Lee (Brazil), 1-up

    Patrick Flavin’s Match Wins
    Defeated Santiago Gómez (Colombia), 3 and 2
    Defeated Shad Tuten (U.S.), 1-up
    Defeated Edward Figueroa (Puerto Rico), 3 and 1
    Defeated Leandro Marelli (Argentina), 2-up
    Defeated Tommy Cocha (Argentina), 19 holes
    Defeated Rodrigo Lee (Brazil), 1-up

    Did you know Patrick Flavin’s last victory prior to this week’s Bupa Match Play came when he was playing for Miami University, in 2018. He won the Dayton Flyer Invitational—his fourth title in five starts—defeating Eastern Michigan’s Beau Breault in a two-hole, sudden-death playoff.

    Order of Merit Standings

    Pos.

    Player (Country)

    Earnings

    1

    Tom Whitney (U.S.)

    $59,400

    2

    Jared Wolfe (U.S.)

    $44,055

    3

    Augusto Nunez (Argentina)

    $43,815

    4

    Mito Pereira (Chile)

    $43,607

    5

    Ryan Ruffels (Australia)

    $42,241

    6

    John Somers (U.S.)

    $39,969

    7

    Cristobal Del Solar (Chile)

    $39,124

    8

    Andreas Halvorsen (Norway)

    $38,537

    9

    Patrick Flavin (U.S.)

    $36,326

    10

    Alex Rocha (Brazil)

    $35,296

    Quotable

    “To come out on top, I can’t even believe it.” –Patrick Flavin

    “Starting on the beginning of the back nine of the final match, with all the pressure and the stress that’s going on—you’re mentally tired and you’re physically tired—I really just tried to eat and drink as much as I possibly could. Toward the end there, the adrenaline really kicked in, and I was nervous, not even thinking about being tired.” –Patrick Flavin

    “It was an amazing first half of the season anyway. But to win down here kind of changes everything My goal has been to be in the top five (on the Order of Merit). I was fading down toward the top 60. Really making this tournament was a huge goal of mine. So not only to make it but to come here and win, I can’t even believe it.” –Patrick Flavin

    “I think it’s going to take some time to re-evaluate my goals, for sure.” –Patrick Flavin

    “I got off to a bad start, felt a little tired, but I was able to focus on the back nine to give myself a chance. I took advantage of (Patrick’s) mistakes late in the match and focused even more to put the pressure on him. It worked a bit until the end. That last putt came close to going in and I feel I attacked it well. I fought all the way until the end, but it wasn’t enough.” –Rodrigo Lee

    “Patrick made a great approach on No. 18. He had about 190 yards, playing into the wind and had no sight of the green. He hit an awesome shot into the green.” –Rodrigo Lee on Patrick Flavin’s approach on the last hole.

    Semifinals, Finals Weather Report

    Mostly sunny, hot and humid. High of 88, with a heat index of 99. Wind SE at 12-16 mph.