Houston – Hideki Matsuyama shot a 7-under 63 in the final round of the Houston Open on Sunday and finished in a two-way tie for second place, two strokes behind Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz.
Ortiz carded five birdies on the challenging Memorial Park Golf Course and fended off a final-round push from Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson of the United States, the latter who matched the first-time PGA Tour winner’s final-round 65 for a share of second.
Matsuyama tallied seven birdies in a blemish-free round to climb six spots up the leaderboard, but at 11-under 269 fell just short of winning his sixth PGA title and first since 2017.
“I think I was able to play well but it was a waste to miss the chances I had in the first half of the tournament. That’s where I didn’t do enough,” said Matsuyama, who sat even after 36 holes in Houston.
“But I did learn some things. I think I produced some pretty good results while being able to play at this level.”
Satoshi Kodaira shot a 69 and finished tied for 38th place.
Ortiz became the first Mexican to win on the PGA Tour in 42 years and earned every bit of it. He was caught in a tight battle on the back nine with the world’s No. 1 player and Japan’s biggest star. Ortiz delivered the winner with a 6-iron to 8 feet on the par-5 16th. He had to settle for a two-putt birdie, and it held up when Johnson and Matsuyama narrowly missed birdie chances coming in.
Ortiz finished in style. Needing two putts to win, the 29-year-old holed a 20-foot birdie putt for a victory that sends him to the Masters next April for the first time.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the other guys. I wasn’t worried,” Ortiz said. “I knew if I played good I was going to be hard to beat. … I knew I was capable of doing that because I know myself, but obviously validating that and then showing it, it definitely gets me more confidence. I’m just happy the way it played out.”
He was at Augusta National a year ago to watch his brother, Alvaro, who qualified by winning the Latin American Amateur.
“It feels awesome,” said Ortiz, who grew up in Guadalajara and played at North Texas with Sebastian Munoz of Colombia, the most recent Latin American winner on tour. “This is like my second home. There was a bunch of people cheering for me, Latinos and Texans. I’m thankful for all of them.”
It was the loudest cheer for a winner since March. The Houston Open was the first domestic PGA Tour event that allowed spectators, with 2,000 tickets sold daily. They were treated to a good show.
The last Mexican-born player to win was Victor Regelado, who captured the Quad Cities Open in 1978.
Johnson was making his first start since the U.S. Open after a positive coronavirus test knocked him out of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek and the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.
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