Tony Finau cruises to 2023 Mexico Open title in rematch with Jon Rahm

Tony Finau of the United States reacts after making par on the 6th hole during the final round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta on April 30, 2023 in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

Tony Finau won his sixth PGA Tour title Sunday in Mexico.

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While Jon Rahm is still undeniably the hottest player in golf right now, the man who held him off Sunday might submit his name for consideration.

In a rematch of the 2022 Mexico Open, where Rahm picked up his first of seven wins in the last year, Tony Finau came out on top this time.

Finau started Sunday with a two-shot lead over Rahm and Akshay Bhatia and ended it with a bogey-free 66 to finish at 24 under, good for a three-shot win at this year’s Mexico Open at Vindanta over Rahm. The top three on the leaderboard are identical to a year ago with Brandon Wu following his co-runner-up with a solo third this year.

“This tournament propelled me I think into the season that I had last year,” Finau said. “This was the first high finish that I had all season in my season last year. I was playing not very good golf and then I make a run on Sunday and after that, I played great golf throughout the rest of the season.

“To get this win was huge and hopefully propels me to do more great things as the season unfolds.”

Now Finau joins Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa as multi-time winners on the PGA Tour this season. He moves up to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings, after the aforementioned trio.

By picking up his sixth career PGA Tour win, it’s also his fourth in the past 18 starts (280 days) after he won back-to-back events at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic last July.

Finau may not have captured many headlines since his win in the fall portion of the schedule at the Houston Open, but he’s quietly put together an extremely solid season. He’s missed just one cut in 12 starts and finished in the top-25 nine times.

He was equally as steady on Sunday, making birdie on the opening hole and then another at the par-3 5th.

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Wu was the only player to mount a serious challenge all day, briefly tying Finau after an eagle-birdie run on 6 and 7 brought him to 21 under. However, Finau made a birdie of his own at the drivable par-4 7th. Wu bogeyed the 8th and then suffered disaster two holes later when he hit his tee ball into the pond and walked away with double. He was tied for second with Rahm on 18 but made a sloppy bogey to finish at 19 under.

“I think that 10th tee shot was maybe a few bad swings in a row,” Wu said. “It’s tough, you’ve got to really hunker down and trust your swing, trust that you’ve been hitting good shots all week.”

Finau’s lead was never less than three after that. He played a simple, mistake-free game. On the 490-yard 10th, he took the water completely out of play by hitting two driving irons onto the green.

Rahm was in neutral for much of the early going and only could muster a charge late on the back nine with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 and one to finish on 18.

“I knew I needed a low one again today, somewhere 23, 24, 25 under was, maybe if I had a target in mind, that was it,” Rahm said. “It was a day where I didn’t do much wrong, but I didn’t do much right, either.”

Not only did the two close friends battle a year ago as well, but they also played a practice round earlier this week with Bhatia.

“Anytime you can battle with a guy like Jon Rahm who’s in the form that he was and come out on top, it makes me feel good,” Finau said. “Rahm is a good friend of mine, we practice quite a bit together so having Rahmbo as like a sparring partner for me has only made me better and I hope he can say the same.”

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