Mexico Open 2023 Ranking, Grades: Tony Finau passes world No. 1 Jon Rahm for victory at Vidanta

Mexico Open 2023 Ranking, Grades: Tony Finau passes world No. 1 Jon Rahm for victory at Vidanta

“Confidence when you’re winning is contagious,” said Tony Finau after winning the 2022 Houston Open for his fifth career title on the PGA Tour. At the 2023 Mexico Open on Sunday, Finau’s confidence was on full display as he overpowered and passed the world’s hottest player, Jon Rahm, en route to his sixth win and fourth of his last 18 starts with a 24-under performance.

Finau started the day two shots ahead of his good friend and playing partner in most off weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona, and dismissed the thought of a possible duel from the start. With a birdie on the opening game, Finau extended his lead to three before hitting easy pars on the next three.

Up front in the penultimate group, Brandon Wu would announce his presence. The 26-year-old carded three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes, briefly undertaking Finau at 21. However, that would be close enough for Wu to come as errors piled up while Finau’s quality held up.

A birdie on the par 3 5th was followed by a nifty par save on the 6th, a crucial birdie on the #7 and an even more critical par on the 8th. Finau flipped 3 under and not only reclaimed the lead, but increased his lead when he held a three-shot advantage, although Rahm, Wu and Akshay Bhatia all delivered their fair share of shots.

Unfortunately for the pursuers, none of them would land and no noticeable discomfort would affect the leader.

Finau’s back nine was a master class in playing by a wide margin. The 33-year-old stayed untroubled, converting birdie chances when they presented themselves and slowly taking the life out of the tournament and its peers. The 33-year-old’s inside half 34 meant a final round 66 and a three-stroke win.

All that – staring the world No. 1 straight in the eye and secretly becoming one of the most prominent winners on the tour – is unlikely to materialize for Finau when that tournament is just three years behind. Finau has endured a five-year winless drought at 142 tournaments and has won five times since winning the 2021 FedEx Cup Playoffs at the Northern Trust just 41 starts ago.

The win makes Finau the fourth player on the PGA Tour to have multiple wins this season alongside Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa. Rarely is he talked about in such a company, having yet to win a high-profile event like the Genesis Invitational, let alone a major championship.

However, just like Finau’s earlier inability to deduce, expect him to find this out soon. With the PGA Championship fast approaching at Oak Hill Country Club, Finau will be among those able to defeat Rahm (as he did today) and the other members of the true elite like Scheffler. His iron game leads the PGA Tour for the past six months, and his confidence may not be far behind. Rating: A+

Here is the breakdown for the rest of the standings at the Mexico Open 2023

2. JonRaHm (-21): The world No. 1 could have joined the illustrious five-winner club with a successful title defense (which would also have been the first of his career). Had Rahm won, he would have been the fastest with five wins in a season since Johnny Miller in 1974. Instead he has to wait. Even the best get outmaneuvered sometimes, and after shooting a course record of 61 on Saturday, Rahm couldn’t repeat that feat on Sunday. Rahm will miss his first elevated event of the season at next week’s Wells Fargo Championship, meaning we’ll next see him at the PGA Championship in Oak Hill CC. After weeks of media commitments following his Masters win, Charlotte’s absence makes sense and is more than well-deserved. Grade: A-

3. Brandon Wu (-19): Three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes allowed Wu to take part of the lead for a moment. He hit an immediate return on the par 4-8 and couldn’t muster the magic on the back nine. Wu finished the race with a then course record of 63 in a riot and finished second behind Rahm in 2022, and a similar crash engulfed Vidanta on Sunday. The 26-year-old is still without a win on the PGA Tour, although his results in Vidanta, Puerto Rico and even Scotland have made him a sneaky player on the coastal courses. Class: A

4.Akshay Bhatia (-18): Despite being behind, the 21-year-old impressed early in the final group alongside Rahm and Finau. Bhatia made two birdies in his first six holes to reach 19 under before the wheels started to fall off. He’s so young and still has so much to learn, but implementing AimPoint on the greens has made a tremendous difference and maybe will continue to do so in the future. Bhatia will aim to have even more experiences like this while continuing to play out his special temporary membership. Class: A

T25. Wyndham Clark (-10): Having had a narrow chance at the Zurich Classic a week ago, Clark seemed poised to finally break through. He got off to a slow start and never recovered as the top of the rankings outran the field. All in all, it’s been a bumpy week for the Scottsdale-area resident, as he ranked outside the top 20 in every category with main strokes won. Statistically he’s enjoying a fantastic year and while Clark would love to compete in certain events, it’s these regular tournaments where he needs to earn his hay. Class: C

T39. Gary Woodland (-7): The 2019 US Open champion continues to hit the ball solidly as he finished third in shots this week thanks to strong effort from both the tee and approach. Woodland actually got some of his short game – which is a rare occurrence – but went flat with the putter again. After cutting the number, Woodland worked his way up the rankings through the final 36 holes, but ultimately the lack of consistently putts holed (he finished last in strokes won on putting) was too much to overcome to become. Class: D

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Hobbled Butler serves as a decoy late in the heat win

Hobbled Butler serves as a decoy late in the heat win

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