Jon Rahm wins in Mexico, Marina Alex rallies at Palos Verdes
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AP) — Jon Rahm pulled out of a four-way tie with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole and then held on with pars for a 2-under 69 and a one-shot victory Sunday in the Mexico Open.
Rahm won for the first time since the U.S. Open last summer at Torrey Pines.
Tony Finau and Brandon Wu each closed with a 63, while Kurt Kitayama birdied the final hole from a back bunker for a 68. They tied for second.
Staked to a two-shot lead going into the final round, he never trailed. But it was never easy.
Rahm’s had a one-shot lead after his lone bogey of the round on the tough par-4 10th.
Well ahead of him, Wu holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to join him at 16 under. Kitayama, playing in the final group with Rahm, got up-and-down from right of the green on the par-5 12th to tie. And then Finau went birdie-eagle-birdie to get in the mix and capped off his 63 with a birdie to make it a four-way tie.
Rahm never lost his patience. His chip left of the green on the par-5 14th raced 12 feet by the hole, but he hit his best putt of the round and made it for birdie for a one-shot lead. He made pars the rest of the way for his seventh PGA Tour title and his 14th worldwide.
Rahm finished at 17-under 267.
PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — Marina Alex won the Palos Verdes Championship for her second LPGA Tour title, breaking a tie with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th and parring the final two holes for a one-stroke victory over Jin Young Ko.
Three strokes behind Hannah Green entering the round, Alex closed with a 5-under 66 to finish at 10-under 274 at hilly and windy Palos Verdes Golf Club.
The top-ranked Ko also shot a 66. She finished about an hour before Alex in the first-year event that wrapped up the LPGA Tour’s two-week, Los Angeles-area stay and five-tournament West Coast swing.
The 31-year-old Alex also won the 2018 Portland Classic. She tied for 10th last week at Whilshire Country Club in the LA Open.
Third-ranked Lydia Ko (70) and Megan Khang (68) tied for third at 8 under. Green shot her second straight 72 to drop into a tie for fifth at 7 under.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) — Steven Alker returned from a two-hour rain delay by playing a six-hole stretch in 6-under par on the back nine to race past Steve Stricker, close with a 6-under 66 and win the Insperity Invitational for his second victory this year on the PGA Tour Champions.
Alker had to make a pair of tough par saves to close out the front nine at The Woodlands and stay one shot ahead of Stricker, who was playing for the first time in six months.
Alker birdied three straight holes starting at No. 11, and then he effectively put the tournament away by rolling in an eagle putt on the par-5 15th to build a four-shot lead.
Stricker and Brandt Jobe each shot 70 and tied for second, four shots behind. Alker finished at 18-under 198.
Stricker was hospitalized late last year when his liver count plunged and his white blood cell count spiked. He lost 25 pounds and was worried about his strength and endurance in his first competition since Oct. 10.
Alker move to the top of the Charles Schwab Cup standings with his $345,000 for winning. Not bad for a Kiwi who only nine months ago had no status at all on the 50-and-older circuit.
GIRONA, Spain (AP) — Adri Arnaus of Spain captured his first European tour title when he made up a seven-shot deficit with a 7-under 65 and won the Catalyunya Championship in a playoff with a par on the sixth extra hole.
Arnaus, who is from Barcelona in northeast Spain near Girona, caught overnight leader Oliver Bekker, who closed with a 72.
In the playoff, Arnaus and Becker made par on five trips to the 18th hole, but when they went to the 17th, Bekker’s bogey gave Arnaus the title.
The 27-year-old Arnaus had previously finished runner-up five times on the European tour. It was his third playoff in a span of seven months. Bekker was also seeking his first tour win.
This was the European tour’s first time at PGA Catalunya since the 2014 Spanish Open. The venue hosted European qualifying from 2008-16.
KORN FERRY TOUR
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Harrison Endycott of Australia closed with an even-par 70 and won his first Korn Ferry Tour title with a five-shot victory over Ben Taylor in the Huntsville Championship.
Endycott seized control of the tournament with a 64 in the third round and was never seriously challenged Sunday.
Taylor opened with two bogeys and had a double bogey on No. 8. But he began the back nine with four straight birdies and closed a 70. The runner-up finish moved Taylor to No. 10 in the points race for the 25 players who advance to the PGA Tour next season.
Endycott goes to No. 12 with a victory after a tough start to the year in which he had only one finish in the top 30.
Gabriella Then closed with a 5-under 67 for a two-shot victory over Florida teenager Alexa Pano in the Garden City Charity Classic in Kansas. Then won for the first time on the Epson Tour. ... Yuki Inamori closed with 7-under 63 for a three-shot victory over Jung-Gon Hwang in The Crowns. Inamori won for the third time on the Japan Golf Tour and will move into the top 100 in the world, which likely gets him into the PGA Championship. Hwang shot 67 in his third start since returning from mandatory military service in South Korea. ... Former U.S. Women’s Open champion A Lim Kim closed with a 2-under 70 for a three-shot victory over Ga Young Lee in the KLPGA Championship. ... Former Oklahoma State star Maja Stark of Sweden had a 2-under 70 to complete a five-shot victory over Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden in the Women’s NSW Open in Australia. It was Stark’s third Ladies European Tour title in the last eight months. ... Tristen Strydom won his first Sunshine Tour event with a six-shot victory in the season-ending Tour Championship, closing with a 6-under 66 for a six-shot victory, the largest margin in tournament history. ... José Toledo closed with a 6-under 66 for a six-shot victory over Raul Pereda in the Diners Club Peru Open, his first PGA Tour Latinoamerica title in five years. ... Mao Saigo closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory over Teresa Lu in the Panasonic Open on the Japan LPGA.
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