Graeme McDowell saved the best for last, posting a four-under-par 68 in an eventual seven-under par tally to finish just outside the top-30 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta.
McDowell’s last day effort of four birdies and a lone bogey at the close of his 15th event this 2021/22 wraparound season, sees him remain at 141st on the FedEx Cup standings
It was another frustrating week for McDowell, who is a past winner in Mexico, with just 16 birdies over the four days but nine bogeys.
This is also reflected in studying McDowell’s playing record this year. In the 10 events he’s played in 2022 proper he’s played all four rounds one week but then in his next outing he sits out the weekend. He then bounces back to play all four days in the next and then, as we saw last week, he missed the Zurich Classic of New Orleans cut but then in his next event and this week’s Mexico Open, he played all four days.
There was no such concern for Spaniard Jon Rahm however, who played far below his best in posting a final round two-under-par 69 but still managed to win by a shot thanks to his 17-under-par tally.
Helping Rahm keep his nose in front was a 15th club in the bag, and that was a very supportive Mexican crowd with fans no doubt remembering Rahm had made his Tour debut teeing-up ‘south of the border’
However, with the year’s second major just days away Rahm’s efforts over the four days was not the stuff of someone really on top of his game, despite his name now appearing as winner of the first main PGA Tour hosting of the Mexico Open, a former Latino America tournament, but that’s what matters.
What will concern Rahm was his struggle with the shortest club in his Callaway bag, and if it were not for the longest club and him producing a superb display of ball-striking, the 27-year-old would not have been stepping forward to accept what also is a seventh PGA Tour win along with a 14th pro career victory trophy.
With no-one really putting pressure on Rahm, it was his familiarity with winning that proved pivotal in toasting a first victory since capturing last year’s US Open and Rahm led the field at the close day one and day three, and with a round to play there was no-one of note who really was going to deny the World No. 2.
He had arrived on the Pacific Ocean coastline having posted four top-10s this season as he sought a first taste of success since last winning some 1,400 miles north, also along the Pacific Ocean shoreline at Torrey Pines.
“l let my frustrations out a few times out there but I stayed positive and hopeful and I think it showed in my swings”, said Rahm.
“It wasn’t my best putting weekend but I stayed aggressive and I think the shot on 17 showed that.
“I was confident in what I was doing, I had faith in every part of my game. A couple of those great par putts early on helped out a lot and the one putt from outside five feet that finally went in on 14 was a huge booster.”
Three players, Brandon Wu and Tony Finau, who each posted last day 63s, along with double DP World Tour winning Kurt Kitayama (68) shared second-place at 16-under-par.