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Tony Finau managed to keep the rampant Jon Rahm at bay on the final day of the Mexico Open on Sunday as the American lifted his first title of 2023. Finau had led the event since the halfway stage and held his nerve over the final 18 holes to finish three shots ahead of his Spanish opponent at the top of the leaderboard.
Going into the final round, Finau knew that Rahm was up for the fight after the Spaniard carded a sensational ten-under-par round of 61 on Saturday. It meant that the reigning Masters champion was just two shots adrift of the American going into Sunday. A 65 from Finau on the final day, however, was enough for him to overcome Rahm, who also won last year’s event in Mexico.
Brandon Wu, who enjoyed a great week himself, finished in third with a score of -19 while 21-year-old, Akshay Batia was a shot further adrift on -18. In terms of British hopefuls, Ben Taylor finished in a tie for 8th and Harry Hall finished in a tie for 10th.
A neck and neck final round
After significantly bridging the gap on day two, many were expecting Rahm to be too much for Finau in the final round but it was the American who made all the early running.
A birdie on the first and then another one on the fifth opened the lead up to four shots with 13 holes to play but in true Jon Rahm style, the world number one came roaring back. He birdied six and seven and looked as if he would reduce the deficit to two once again but Finau managed to find a birdie himself on seven to keep his three-shot lead.
On the back nine, Rahm struggled to make inroads on Finau with the American refusing to allow his lead to diminish from three shots at any point. In the end, a bogey on 17 sealed Jon Rahm’s fate and Finau cruised home to the finishing line.
A win for the entire Finau family 💚 pic.twitter.com/r10ivQB5De
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 30, 2023
Speaking afterwards, Finau said:
“It feels amazing. I knew I would have my hands full, Rahmbo’ is on top of the world right now. I didn’t know this golf tournament was mine until I hit the 18th green. It’s crazy how this game is. You never think you have a tournament won until it’s over.”
Meanwhile, Rahm said:
“It’s a great reminder that what you’ve done means absolutely nothing, you still have to go out there and do it. It’s also good so you don’t think too much of yourself, right? Like, obviously I wanted to win, but it’s a reminder that everybody out here is a great player and Tony came out with a two-shot lead and played fantastic golf.”
Promising signs for Finau
Although this was Finau’s first win of 2023, mainly due to the fact that the year has been dominated by Jon Rahm, it was his fifth win in 20 months on the PGA Tour. He has the game, and now the form, to attack the upcoming PGA Championship with everything he’s got as he looks to become a major champion for the first time in his career.
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