Sunday's golf: Jon Rahm wins in Mexico, Marina Alex rallies at Palos Verdes
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico — 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. — 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 — 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.