The Punter's De-Brief: Fabulous Finau cruises to Vidanta victory

Golfers Jon Rahm and Tony Finau
Jon Rahm congratulating Tony Finau on the 18th green

Tony Finau has won in Mexico and Pablo Larrazabal has been victorious in Korea. Our man looks back at their successes here...

  • Finau files facile victory in Mexico

  • Prolific Pablo wins in Korea

  • Read my Wells Fargo Championship preview here

  • Read my Italy Open preview here

  • I was quite looking forward to the final round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta.

    Having hit the front at halfway, the 9.417/2 pre-event second favourite, Tony Finau, led the defending champ and world number one, Jon Rahm, by two strokes, with Brandon Wu and Akshay Bhatia, both on the premises.

    I thought we were in for a real treat with Finau and Rahm fighting out a fascinating finish, but Finau birdied the opening hole to extend his lead to three and the whole affair was a bit dull after that.

    The well backed pre-event favourite, Rahm, who went off at just a shade over 5/2, was matched at a low of 1.758/11 when he got to the front during round three, but he was never at the races on Sunday after his course record 61 on Saturday and he eventually finished second beaten by three.

    Pre-event 110.0109/1 chance, Wu, was matched at a low of 3.8514/5 but Bhatia traded no lower than 8.07/1 and Finau never really looked like losing.

    Prolific Pablo goes in again

    Over on the DP World Tour, pre-event 110.0109/1 chance, Pablo Larrazabal, who was matched at a high of 150.0149/1 when the market first opened, needed to come back to the course early on Sunday morning to play the final two holes of his third round at the Korea Championship, but it didn't go well.

    Pablo Larrazabal wins in Korea.jpg

    He bogeyed the 17th to fall out of a tie for the lead with Robert Macintyre and he failed to birdie the par five 18th but he put that behind him once round four began.

    After a two-under-par front nine he bogeyed the 10th after a rare poor approach shot but he caught fire after that, birdying four of the next five.

    He caught a couple of breaks coming in - his birdie attempt on the 12th circumnavigated the hole before dropping and his drive on the par five 15th was only a yard or two from going out of bounds - but some of the golf he played on Saturday in some really poor weather was spectacular and you couldn't fault the way he seized the initiative on the back-nine on Sunday, so he was a deserved winner.

    Course form counts for plenty at Vidanta

    We've only had two editions of the Mexico Open around the Norman Signature Course at Vidanta but what little evidence we have suggests we need to be prioritising previous course form highly.

    When Rahm won the first edition 12 months ago, this year's winner, Finau, finished second alongside Kurt Kitayama, who didn't play this year, and Brandon Wu, who finished third this year.

    Cameron Champ, who finished sixth last year, arrived in Mexico in awful form, having missed six cuts in-a-row, but he was on the fringes of contention over the weekend and but for a poor finish, he'd have finished higher.

    Champ sat fifth with three holes to play but he bogeyed both 16 and 17 before birdying the last and he eventually finished tied for eighth.

    Birthday boys contend again

    This was Pablo's third DP World Tour victory in 12 months, and it was his eighth overall. And there may well have been a reason for his inspired performance.

    He's far from the first player to win just before or just after a significant birthday and it was interesting to see that the only Korean to finish inside the top-nine and ties, Sanghyun Park, who finished tied third, had turned 40 two days before the tournament began.

    Understandability perhaps, the winner had plenty of praise for the venue, but I enjoyed it too. There were plenty of market moves and it's a hard place to make the running.

    Antoine Rozner was backed at a low of just 2.526/4 on day one when he led by four, but he finished tied for 21st, the halfway leader, Yannik Paul, who hit a low of 3.65, finished tied for 38th and the third round leader, Macintyre, who never really looked like winning, was matched at 3.052/1. He finished tied for seventh.

    Rahm favourite for major number two in 2023

    With none of the other fancied players in action last week, both Tony Finau and Jon Rahm have shortened up in the US PGA Championship market.

    Having been matched at a high of 46.045/1, Finau is now a 30.029/1 chance to win at Oak Hill Country Club in three weeks' time and Rahm is a solid 8.615/2 favourite to follow up last month's US Masters win with a victory in the year's second major of the year.

    Should he do so, he'd be the first ever Spaniard to win the US PGA Championship. Sergio Garcia finished runner-up in both 1999 and 2008 but that's the closest a Spaniard has come to winning it.

    The DP World Tour returns to mainland Europe for the Italian Open, which I've previewed here, and the PGA Tour takes in the top-class Wells Fargo Championship, which I've previewed here.

    *You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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