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  • Rodríguez comes from behind to win in Guadalajara

  • With his Jalisco Open Guadalajara win, José de Jesús Rodríguez is now the winningest player ever on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with five career wins. (Media/PGA TOUR)
    With his Jalisco Open Guadalajara win, José de Jesús Rodríguez is now the winningest player ever on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with five career wins. (Media/PGA TOUR)
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  • GUADALAJARA, Mexico—Given his solid track record at Atlas Country Club and his stature as a Korn Ferry Tour player who spent a full season on the PGA TOUR in 2018-19, José de Jesús Rodríguez of Mexico turned out to be unstoppable Sunday at the Jalisco Open Guadalajara. The 41-year old shot a 6-under 30 on the back nine to run away from the pack and set himself apart as the only player with five career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victories.

    At 15-under 269 for the week, Rodríguez finished three strokes clear of U.S. player Austin Hitt, who fired a 66 for the second consecutive day to finish solo second. Mitchell Meissner and Kevin Velo, the players who entered the day in a tie for the lead, shot 70 to join Myles Creighton of Canada in a three-way tie for third, at 11-under.

    Finishing in the top three for the third consecutive tournament, Meissner strengthened his position as Totalplay Cup No. 2, moving only 19 points behind overall leader Jorge Fernández Valdés of Argentina, who tied for 16th at Atlas Country Club.

    With 12 players within three shots of the lead at the start of a day that provided great scoring conditions, there were several players in the hunt for the ninth title of the 2021-22 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.

    Trailing by two through 54 holes, Rodríguez got off to a slow start, bogeying two of the first four holes to stand further behind. After birdies on 6 and 8 to get to 1-under for the day, Rodríguez picked up his pace with a decisive eagle on the 10th, a 450-yard par-5, a hole he played in a cumulative 5-under for the week. 

    “The eagle on 10 was the key moment of the round. I hit driver off the tee, and then I picked an 8-iron from 195 yards. I hit it pin high and made the 10-footer. I made the most of my opportunity there, and the eagle raised my confidence. After that, I just wanted more, and I tried my best to go as low as I could,” said Rodríguez, who birdied 11 and 13 to claim a lead that he would not surrender. 

    He extended his advantage with another birdie at the par-5 15th and then sealed the deal by sinking an 18-footer for his last birdie of the day, at the par-3 17th.

    “I have been striking the ball really well lately, and this win makes me feel great about my return to the Korn Ferry Tour, where I’m hoping to work my way back to the PGA TOUR,” said the man who holds the 32nd spot on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Points List. While making the cut in eight of 11 starts, Rodríguez has recorded two top-10 finishes at the next level this year, including a tie for third at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March.

    With this victory, Rodríguez separated himself from a group of four players who had claimed four career wins on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Those at four victories are his countryman Rodolfo Cazaubón, American Michael Buttacavoli and the Argentine duo of Julián Etulain and Fernández Valdés.

    The Jalisco Open Guadalajara showed up on his radar when he received an appointment to renew his U.S. visa here last Wednesday. “I had played five weeks in a row, and I usually don’t play more than four in succession. Anyway, I was going to be here in Guadalajara, so I signed up for this one, and I’m grateful to God that I was able to win it,” he said about the reason behind his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event since claiming 2017 Player of the Year honors.

    Did you know José de Jesús Rodríguez has now recorded three professional wins at Atlas Country Club? He won a Mexican Tour event in consecutive years, beginning in 2010. His first win here included a course-record-setting 61 during the second round of the 54-hole event. Back in 2013, the first time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica played at this venue, Rodríguez finished solo second, two shots behind tournament winner Manuel Villegas of Colombia.

    Key Information

    With five titles, José de Jesús Rodríguez is now the all-time leader in career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica wins. The following is a look at his five wins on Tour:

    Five PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Wins

    (1) 2013 Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC at Club de Golf del Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay.

    Defeated Timothy O'Neal of the U.S and Sebastián Saavedra of Argentina with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff. Shot 71-66-66-68 to finish regulation tied for first, at 271 (-17).

    (2) 2013 Arturo Calle Colombian Classic at San Andrés Golf Club in Bogota, Colombia.

    Defeated Manuel Villegas of Colombia with a par on the second playoff hole at the 233-yard par-3 ninth hole. Shot 67-73-65-65 to finish regulation tied for first, at 270 (-14).

    (3) 2017 Avianca Colombia Open at the Country Club of Guaymaral (No. 1 Course) in Bogota, Colombia.

    Posted rounds of 70-68-67-64 to finish at 269 (-15). Won by two shots over Nicolás Echavarría.

    (4) 2017 Paraguay Open Copa NEC at the Yacht & Golf Club Paraguayo in Asuncion, Paraguay.

    Shot 68-69-67-73 to finish at 277 (-11). Won by four shots over Englishman Kelvin Day.

    (5) 2022 Jalisco Open Guadalajara at Atlas Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Shot 66-67-72-64 to finish at 15-under 269. Won by three shots over American Austin Hitt.

    In a tie for 33rd halfway through the tournament, Austin Hitt of Longwood, Florida, put together back-to-back 66s this weekend to run away with solo-second honors. The runner-up at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School at Mission Inn Resort last November, Hitt has now recorded three top-10s this season—a tie for fifth at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational, a tie for ninth at the JHSF Brazil Open and this career-best second-place finish in Guadalajara. “Today I started out with a three-putt, which is not good. I kept myself going with solid ball-striking as I have all week, and I finally got some putts to drop,” said the 24-year old University of North Carolina alum about his Sunday performance.

    Moving from 30th to 13th in the Totalplay Cup standings with only three tournaments left to play this season, Austin Hitt appears ready to make a run at the top five. “I was going to play this tournament and see if I was going to go to Canada and start fresh or I keep going on this Tour, but after this one, I think I’m going to stay,” he said regarding his plans to play PGA TOUR Canada , a Tour where he has secured full status for the season that starts this coming week in Victoria, British Columbia.

    Although a victory remains elusive, Mitchell Meissner is by far the hottest player on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The 25-year old Rice University alum might well win the Totalplay Cup without a victory. His tie-for-third finish at Atlas Country Club earned him 145 Totalplay Cup points and moved him within just 19 points of Totalplay Cup leader Jorge Fernández Valdés, who earned 47 points in a tie for 16th. The following are the players inside the Totalplay Cup top-10 through the Jalisco Open Guadalajara:

    Totalplay Cup Points List 

    (Through Jalisco Open GDL)

    Points List Pos.

    Player

    Total Points

    Points Behind

    1

    Jorge Fernández Valdés (Argentina)

    1,138

     --

    2

    Mitchell Meissner (U.S.)

    1,119

    19

    3

    Kevin Velo (U.S.)

    851

     287

    4

    Alan Wagner (Argentina)

    851

     287

    5

    Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)

    814

     324

    6

    José Toledo (Guatemala)

    808

     330

    7

    Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)

    795

    343

    8

    Manav Shah (U.S.)

    620

    518

    9

    Jeremy Gandon (France)

    592

     546

    9

    Matt Ryan (U.S.)

    585

     553

    There were 38 Mexicans playing this week, six of them amateurs. The following are the final scores and positions for the 12 who made it into the weekend:

    LEADING MEXICANS

    Pos.

    Player

    Score

    1

    José de Jesús Rodríguez

    269 (15-under)

    T6

    Raúl Pereda

    274 (10-under)

    T13

    Rodolfo Cazaubón

    276 (8-under)

    T16

    Aarón Terrazas

    277 (7-under)

    T24

    Emilio González

    279 (5-under)

    T24

    Armando Favela

    279 (5-under)

    T27

    Eduardo Carrete

    280 (4-under)

    T35

    Luis Gerardo Garza

    282 (2-under)

    T48

    Roberto Rodríguez Cacho

    285 (1-over)

    T48

    Juan Diego Fernández

    285 (1-over)

    T52

    David Faraudo

    287 (3-over)

    T52

    Sebastián Vázquez

    287 (3-over)

    Final-Round Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 93. Wind SW at 3-13 mph.