The Washington Post

Rahm ends his drought with a win in Mexico


Jon Rahm could have done without the stress he faced over the final two hours in the Mexico Open on Sunday. Still, it was worth it to pick up his first victory since the U.S. Open last summer.

Rahm rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th hole to pull out of a four-way tie for the lead, and he had to make two tough pars and endure a finish more nervy than he expected.

The relief and satisfacti­on were evident when Rahm tapped in for par on the final hole in Puerto Vallarta for a one-shot victory. He pumped his arm and pounded his fist downward, and at one point he looked skyward and exhaled.

“Today was a battle,” Rahm said. “But I got it done.”

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.

Against one of the weaker fields of the year — Rahm at No. 2 was the only player from the top 15 in the world — the Spaniard was a heavy favorite, and he played that way from his opening 64.

Rahm 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 draw even. 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 a birdie and a one-shot lead. He made pars the rest of the way for his seventh PGA Tour title and his 14th worldwide.

Rahm had gone 17 starts without winning, matching the longest such streak in his career. The victory moves him a little closer to Scottie Scheffler in his bid to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, and he can cover more ground at the PGA Championsh­ip in three weeks.

LPGA TOUR: Marina Alex broke a tie with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 16th and parred the final two holes for a one-stroke victory over Jin Young Ko in the Palos Verdes Championsh­ip.

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 hard work has paid off,” said Alex, the 31-year-old from New Jersey who recently fought a herniated disk in her lower back. “I wasn’t sure if this would ever happen again, if I’m being perfectly honest. It’s been tough.”

The top-ranked Ko also shot a 66, finishing about an hour before Alex in the first-year event that wrapped up the tour’s two-week Los Angeles-area stay.

Alex bogeyed the par-4 third, then birdied the par-4 fifth, par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth. She added birdies on the 11th and 12th and two-putted from 40 feet on 16 to take the lead.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Steven Alker returned from a twohour rain delay by playing a sixhole 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 tour victory this year.

Alker had to make a pair of tough par saves to close out the front nine at The Woodlands in Texas and stay one shot ahead of Stricker, who was playing for the first time in six months.

Alker birdied Nos. 11 through 13, then effectivel­y put the tournament away with an eagle on the par-5 15th. He finished at 18-under 198, four shots ahead of Stricker and Brandt Jobe, who each closed with a 70 to tie for second.

DP WORLD TOUR: Home favorite Adri Arnaus finally won a dramatic playoff to beat Oliver Bekker at the Catalunya Championsh­ip and claim his first European tour win.

Arnaus, who is from Barcelona in northeast Spain near Girona, trailed overnight leader Bekker by seven shots at the start of the day in Girona. But he carded a finalround 7-under-par 65 to pull level. In contrast to Bekker’s even-par 72, Arnaus’s fourth round included five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 12th.

In the playoff, Arnaus and Bekker made par on five trips to the 18th hole, but when they went to the 17th, Bekker’s bogey gave Arnaus the title.

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