Vallarta, Jalisco. Two ingredients have seasoned the menu of the first tournament of the PGA Tours held in the vicinity of Vidanta in Vallarta, Jalisco: the color of the public and the complexity of the level. From the beginning, the presence of six golfers within the Top 50 of the world ranking promoted a fierce fight for the leadership of each day, but what has most surprised some is the encouragement of the Mexican fans, who accompany their idols in each hole regardless of the inclemency of high temperatures (over 30 degrees Celsius).
“The truth, sorry for the word, but (the atmosphere) is very cool. The Mexican atmosphere on the last hole was a bit bittersweet because I was putting for double bogey, but it’s amazing to play in front of the Mexican fans, we have a different kind of vibe and you can feel it. I hope that tomorrow (Sunday) the course will be even more crowded and the hometown will be felt,” golfer Álvaro Ortiz told El Economista, still enthusiastic about closing the 18th hole on Saturday to the clamor of the people.
Álvaro has been the best of the Mexican representatives until the penultimate day of the Mexico Open at Vidanta. The man from Jalisco closed as the best placed national golfer both on Friday and Saturday, so he will start the final round on Sunday from the T30 position with an overall 6-under par 207. His brother Carlos will start as T58 with 3-under par 210, while the other Aztec exponent still with championship chances, Abraham Ancer, will start from T35 with a 5-under par 208.
For Álvaro Ortiz, the effervescent accompaniment of the public has been one of his main engines, especially since he is a native of the state of Jalisco and says he knows the facilities of Vidanta Group in Vallarta.
“I am very happy and proud that they are doing a PGA Tour (tournament) here, next to my house, in Guadalajara. I have been coming here to Vidanta since I was three or five years old (he is now 26) and being able to play on this course is incredible, it is an experience that I never imagined in my dreams and the truth is the work they have done with the course and the organization has been impeccable, 10”.
In it Mexico Open 2022Álvaro is only playing his eighth tournament PGA Tours. After a constant performance on the rise, he felt incomplete on Saturday for having closed with a triple bogey on the final hole (18), although the fans did not stop accompanying him with applause. He is aware that this is part of his part and does not let his guard down for the final battle.
“I think it’s just a reminder that this is golf, it’s crazy, psychopathic, and I’m one of them when I’m playing out there. It’s crazy what happens sometimes, well, playing 15 perfect holes and the following ones very badly, then everything you’ve just done collapses, but it’s a good bath of humility, that’s how it happens, but go out with your head held high tomorrow give the best you can.”
The 26-year-old golfer was satisfied with the performance that the Mexicans are having so far, since of the 10 who entered the field, three managed to make the cut; Although they are far from the Colombian Sebastián Muñoz, who is the best placed Latin American so far (in T24), he does not rule out a surprise on the last day of the Mexico Open at Vidanta.
—How do you evaluate the performance of the Mexican delegation one day after the tournament closes?
—“I am very happy that we are three Mexicans after the cut, within the weekend. I hope that Abraham (Ancer) and my brother (Carlos Ortiz) finish very well, I hope that the three of us will do a very good job tomorrow, even a Top 10 or a Top 5, we’ll see how the conditions work out, but hopefully better until someone does a very good (day) and can take the trophy, “Álvaro Ortiz replied to this newspaper.
However, the fight for that title will be at odds with a benchmark that has managed to conquer the Mexican fans despite being born on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean: the Spaniard Jon Rahmwho has closed the days of Friday and Saturday at the top of the leaderboard, adding a total score of 15-under par 198, a figure with which he leads the North Americans by two strokes Kurt Kitayama (66) and Cameron Champ (67).
“I feel like one of the locals here in Mexico. The fans have been amazing to me this week and I am so honored. I have played very well from tee to green all week and that makes me very happy. I gave myself many opportunities throughout the day (Saturday), but I highlight the putt on the 8th hole. I have felt very comfortable all week and I hope that tomorrow (in the final on Sunday) I can finish the job”, detailed Jon Rahm.
The Iberian is one of those spoiled by children, who constantly ask their parents to take them to the area of the field “where Rahm is playing”. If he maintains the power of his level on Sunday, the Spaniard will achieve his seventh victory on the PGA Tour, the first for almost a year, when he won the US Open in June 2021.