Rodriguez grabs 36-hole lead at El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova
March 09, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 09, 2018
- Mexico's José de Jesús Rodríguez hits a tee shot in Round 2 of the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova (Dave Evenson/PGA TOUR).
LEON, GTO, Mexico – As the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova celebrates its 11th year, Irapuato, Mexico native Jose de Jesus Rodriguez celebrates his 11th year in the field and his first 36-hole lead on the Web.com Tour since the 2014 Nova Scotia Open. The 37-year-old entered Friday tied for fifth, three strokes back of the lead, but a bogey-free 5-under 67 propelled Rodriguez into the solo-lead heading into the weekend. Virginia native John Chin sits one back of Rodriguez, and a pack of four players sit two off the lead at 8-under 136.
Rodriguez has had a successful opening to the 2018 Tour season, carding a T3 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay and a T8 at the Club Colombia Championship to enter this week in his home country at No. 14 on the Regular Season money list.
Hot starts are nothing new for Rodriguez, who began his 2017 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with a win at the 70 Avianca Colombia Open. The former World Cup competitor went on to pick up another victory later in the season at the Abierto del Paraguay-Copa NEC. By the time December came, Rodriguez had carded nine top-25 finishes in 13 events, missing only two cuts on the season. The performance was enough to land him the top spot on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit.
As for what’s behind Rodriguez’s stellar play as of late, the Aruba Cup competitor credits it to having a deeper purpose for playing.
“My sponsor passed away two years ago,” Rodriguez commented. “He was like a father to me – so it was very difficult. Now I just want to play well for him. I want to play well here in Mexico and enjoy the game.”
Rodriguez had plenty to enjoy during the second round at the El Bosque Country Club. Not only did he hit nearly every fairway, but the local also hit every green in regulation.
Rodriguez has made five cuts in his past 10 El Bosque Mexico Championship appearances, picking up four top-25 finishes along the way. His best performance came in 2010 when he finished solo-fourth.
One shot behind Rodriguez sits University of California-Irvine alum John Chin, who looks to become the fifth first-time Tour winner in 2018. Chin picked up three birdies and an eagle during play Friday, but it was a momentum-boosting par on the 536-yard par-4 sixth that defined Chin’s performance.
“I hit my first shot in the bunker,” Chin recalled. “I hit my second shot over the green, hit a good chip to 10-feet and then made the putt for par. That was actually a shot to keep my round going. I made a couple of birdies, but making that shot was pretty key to the round.”
The former Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada player made 23 starts on the Web.com Tour in 2017, making the cut in 15 events and amassing 7 top-25 finishes. Last season marked the third time Chin competed in Leon. The 30-year-old has made the cut in each of his last three El Bosque Mexico Championship appearances, with his best finish being a T25 in 2012. Chin attributes his play this week to having such experience already under his belt.
“I definitely think it’s helping,” Chin said. “It was pretty windy today, and I’ve played in that wind in years past so I know how the golf course is with that... Experience helps [with the altitude too]. It’s all feel. You just kind of have to feel how it’s going, how you’re feeling and go from there. It’s a little bit of a guessing game, but I guess I guessed pretty good.”
Home cooking? @PGATOURLA alum and Mexico's own José de Jesús Rodríguez (-10) closed Round 2 with a birdie today.— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) March 9, 2018
It has kept him in the lead at the @MXChampionship all day: https://t.co/fsjUQUI9IV pic.twitter.com/3z2FxqgMsI
* Friday weather: Sunny, High: 85, Winds: W/NW 6-12 mph.
* This week’s purse is $650,000, with $117,000 going to the champion.
* The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144, with 76 players making it through to the final 36 holes of play. The even-par cutline marks the fifth-straight event on the Web.com Tour with an even-par or higher cut in 2018.
* This week’s field features four past champions – Matt Atkins (2017), Wes Roach (2015), Carlos Ortiz (2014) and Michael Putnam (2013). All four players will play the weekend in Leon, with Roach and Ortiz both entering Saturday inside of the top 25 (T12 and T25 respectively).
* Of the 17 Mexican players in this week’s field, seven will play the weekend: Raul Cortes, Roberto Diaz, Armando Favela, Santiago Gavino, Carlos Ortiz, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, and Gerardo Ruiz.
* Web.com Tour rookie Conner Godsey was Friday’s biggest mover, following up an opening-round 3-over 75 with a 9-under 63 in the second round. With the performance, Godsey moved inside of the cutline, entering the weekend T12.
* Godsey’s 9-under 63 ties the lowest second-round score in tournament history, as well as the lowest round in tournament history (Jarrod Lyle, 2008; Casey Wittenberg, 2011; Wesley Bryan, 2016).
* Only twice in tournament history has the cutline been under-par, with the cutline being made at 1-under in 2016 and 2011. The highest cut in tournament history was 4-over and occurred in the inaugural year of the event.
* The 36-hole leader/co-leader has only gone on to win the El Bosque Mexico Championship once, when Wesley Bryan took home the title.