Sunday's golf: Todd, Taylor tied heading into Monday finish in Mexico
Playa del Carmen, Mexico — Brendon Todd was closing in on a second straight victory when he was slowed by two missed putts, and then by darkness Sunday in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Now he faces a sprint to the finish.
Todd and Vaughn Taylor were tied for the lead with four holes remaining when the final round was suspended until Monday morning.
They were at 20-under par, one shot ahead of Harris English and Carlos Ortiz.
Todd had gone 99 starts over five years without a victory, and now he is going for two in a row. A victory would get him into the Masters and the U.S. Open.
Taylor came up short of the green on the par-3 15th and pitched to about 5 feet. Todd and English had birdie chances from the 20-foot range when they all marked their balls to have putters in their hands when the round resumes.
Ortiz, in contention for his first PGA Tour victory before a home crowd in Mexico, made a key par save from 6 feet on the 17th hole as it was getting too dark to read the break. He was in a group with Zach Johnson and Mark Hubbard, who raced ahead to tee off on the 18th fairway to have the choice to finish.
That left Ortiz by himself on the 18th hole with two groups ahead of him. Johnson joined the group in front so he could finish. Hubbard eventually finished. Ortiz told a rules official it was too dark for such a meaningful hole, and he wanted to wait.
“I still have a chance,” Ortiz said.
Todd, who won the inaugural Bermuda Championship two weeks ago, shot a 6-under 65 in the third round to take a one-shot lead over Taylor (66) and English (68). All three of them are still in the mix heading to the Monday finish.
The tournament did not start until Friday because of heavy rain that washed out the opening round. El Camaleon Golf Club had received more than 9 inches of rain before the Mayakoba Golf Classic could start.
Todd appeared to be in control with a two-shot lead until he failed to get up-and-down from off the green on the par-5 13th, and Taylor birdied. On the next hole, Todd’s approach caught enough of a slight ridge to roll off the side into a tough lie in the Bermuda rough. His chip was heavy, and he missed a 7-foot par putt.
English made his second straight birdie to pull within one shot.
“There was no benefit for me to keep playing after making two 5s in a row,” Todd said. “I’ll take it as a positive, try to get some rest and come out with some good shots in the morning.”
“Make that first putt, go from there,” Todd said.
English hasn’t won since Mayakoba in 2013, when it was the final tournament of the year. Now it’s the penultimate tournament before the PGA Tour takes its short winter break before resuming in Hawaii, and a win would send English to Kapalua with the rest of the year’s winners.
Taylor last won at Pebble Beach in 2016 when he beat Phil Mickelson.
“I know my putter is good right now and just trying to lean on the putter,” Taylor said. “I’m hitting some good shots, too, but it’s always a good feeling when you know you’re rolling it good.”
Defending champion Matt Kuchar closed with a 9-under 62 but will not finish among the top 10. Kuchar and Brian Gay each made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole three groups apart.
In Sun City, South Africa, Tommy Fleetwood made three eagles for a 7-under 65 and rallied from a six-shot deficit to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge in a playoff.
Fleetwood beat Marcus Kinhult on the first extra hole at Sun City for his fifth European Tour victory, and first in nearly two years.
Fleetwood only needed a par on the 18th hole in the playoff when Kinhult, who closed with a 68, missed the fairway and had to chip out sideways.
Fleetwood won $2.5 million and moved to No. 2 in the Race to Dubai behind Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who tied for third at Sun City. The season ends next week with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The 28-year-old Fleetwood won the Race to Dubai in 2017 and has a chance of being crowned Europe’s No. 1 for the second time in three seasons.
Zander Lombard, who had the 54-hole lead, closed with a 77 and tied for eighth.
The leading five players going into Dubai are Wiesberger, Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick. Rahm did not play the last two Rolex Series events that lead to the season finale.