Blanchet prevails in overtime to win it all in Tulum
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Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA
TULUM, Mexico—Chandler Blanchet survived a three-man playoff to win the Bupa Tour Championship Sunday at PGA Riviera Maya. The win secured a larger jackpot, as the 28-year old from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, also claimed the Totalplay Cup trophy for 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player of the Year honors. He’ll be exempt into every open Korn Ferry Tour tournament in 2024.
On his way to becoming the only two-time winner this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, Blanchet carded a final-round, 2-under 70 to battle his way into a tie for first with Justin Doeden of Prior Lake, Minnesota, and Jeremy Gandon of France. A par on the third playoff hole was good enough for him to walk away as the biggest winner of the year.
Blanchet, Doeden and Gandon finished regulation tied at 6-under 282, one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz, who carded three bogeys on the back nine to drop the three-shot lead he held with nine holes to play. New Zealand’s Harry Hillier joined Ortiz in the tie for fourth, at 5-under.
“An incredible day! You couldn’t have dreamed it up any better,” said Blanchet after his thrilling victory, his third as a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica player.
Blanchet seemed in position to secure the win after sinking a 15-footer for birdie, which he called “electric” in the second playoff hole. Gandon was not ready to surrender and responded by draining his birdie putt from a similar length to force another hole. Doeden, who made a par, was out of the race.
On the third and final playoff hole, Blanchet missed his tee shot way right, behind some palm trees. “I just overcut it, a little block, a little right. I knew it was OK over there, so I actually hit the same shot I hit on the hole before. I had a good line on the pin, and I judged it correctly to give myself 20 feet for birdie,” said Blanchet, who two-putted for par and then saw Gandon miss his par putt.
“Thankfully par was enough to get it done in the third hole. I wish it would have been a birdie, it would have been more exciting, but it was awesome,” added the champion.
ChandlerBlanchet is the third consecutive U.S. player to win the points list since PGA TOUR Latinoamérica moved away from a money-list standings in the 2020-21 season. He is also the sixth U.S. player to capture Player of the Year honors, joining MitchellMeissner (2021-22), BrandonMatthews (2020-21), HarryHiggs(2018), NateLashley (2016) and RyanBlaum (2013). Mexico’s JosédeJesúsRodríguez (2017) and RodolfoCazaubón (2015) also won top honors, along with and Argentina’s AugustoNúñez (2019), JuliánEtulain (2014) and ArielCañete (2012).
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Players of the Year
|Year||Player of the Year||Country|
|2022-23||Chandler Blanchet||United States|
|2021-22||Mitchell Meissner||United States|
|2020-21||Brandon Matthews||United States|
|2018||Harry Higgs||United States|
|2017||José de Jesús Rodríguez||Mexico|
|2016||Nate Lashley||United States|
|2013||Ryan Blaum||United States|
A year after MitchellMeissner played consistent golf but didn’t win a tournament on his way to the Totalplay Cup, ChandlerBlanchet won twice in 2022-23—at the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years in Argentina in March and Sunday’s Bupa Tour Championship.
With Chandler Blanchet leading the way, the following are the players who finished the season inside the Totalplay Cup Top 5 to secure 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status:
|1||Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)||1539|
|2||Myles Creighton (Canada)||1146|
|3||Walker Lee (U.S.)||1014|
|4||Austin Hitt (U.S.)||897|
|5||Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)||889|
GabrielLench had the round of the day Sunday—and the tournament’s best 18-hole score—firing a 7-under 65 to improve from a tie for 39th when the day began to a tie for 18th. Lench had 10 consecutive pars to start his final round then bogey No. 11. After that, it was lights out, with birdies on Nos. 3, 6, 7 and 9 and eagles at the par-5 fourth and the par-5 eighth. Lench’s 65 was 15 strokes better than his opening-round score, an 8-over 80.
WalkerLee made 18 birdies at the Bupa Tour Championship, lifting his season-total to 202, the best in 2022-23. He finished with eight more than AustinHitt.
Chandler Blanchet’s winning score of 6-under (finishing regulation tied with Justin Doeden and Jeremy Gandon) is right in line with the two previous tournaments at PGA Riviera Maya, A year ago, JesusMontenegro won with a 6-under score, while 5-under was PatrickNewcomb’s winning score in relation to par in 2021.
Finishing the tournament in a tie for fourth and sixth respectively, Alvaro Ortiz and Raul Pereda were the leading Mexican players this week. They earned enough Totalplay Cup points to also finish the Tour’s season-long race as the leading Mexicans, with Ortiz finishing 21st and Pereda 22nd. As such, they were awarded additional bonuses of U.S. $5,000 by Bupa Mexico.
Totalplay Cup Leading Mexicans
|23||José de Jesús Rodríguez*||500|
|39||Luis Gerardo Garza||330|
* Did not play the final event this week
Final Round Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 87. Wind ESE at 14-25 mph.