Off to a slow start Sunday, Fernández Valdés saw his lead shrink to two shots over both Ortiz and Nesbitt with only nine holes to play. All three players went on the attack on the back nine, but Fernández Valdés and Ortiz had more firepower and managed to separate from the Canadian.
“It feels amazing when you have that sort of a match against somebody out there fighting for a title. You know, the adrenaline is pumping, the nerves are high, everything quadruples. Well, at least that’s how it felt. We had a nice battle, with lots of birdies, eagles and many great shots,” said Ortiz of his head-to-head, back-nine battle with Fernández Valdés.
Fernández Valdés put together a string of four consecutive birdies, starting at No. 11, but Ortiz went after him with a birdie-eagle-par-birdie-birdie-birdie charge off No. 10. His birdie on the 15th put the two into a tie for the lead at 23-under with three holes to play.
“I had an impeccable stretch of golf holes. I putted unbelievable good, I was rolling the ball on line, and I was reading the greens well. I have been coming here a bit, so I know how these greens move. They are a little tricky. I was just fortunate enough to find the bottom of the cup quite often. I think I one-putted six out of nine times (on the back nine), so I’m just thankful that the work that I have put in paid off,” said Ortiz of the hot stretch that allowed him to put pressure on Fernández Valdés.
With his four-shot lead gone and both players battling the strong Pacific Ocean winds late in the round, Fernández Valdés struggled. The Argentine’s bogey at the par-3 16th, where Ortiz made a long putt to save par, left him a shot behind, and his double bogey on 17 pretty much sealed the deal. Ortiz pared the last two holes to remain at 23-under, while Fernández Valdés dropped another stroke with a bogey at the last to finish at 19-under. Nesbitt leapfrogged him with a birdie at the last to lock up solo second, at 20-under.
Did you know that Alvaro Ortiz’s brother Carlos, who is four years older, is currently playing his fifth season as a PGA TOUR member? Carlos first made it to the TOUR as the 2014 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year. He has made 127 career starts on the PGA TOUR, where he recorded his first win last November at the Vivint Houston Open. Carlos currently holds the 14th spot in the FedExCup standings.
The 61st Abierto Mexicano de Golf was supported by Unifin, CONADE and the Government of the State of Sinaloa.
Alvaro Ortiz became the first player from Mexico to win the Mexican Open since 2016, when Sebastián Vásquez defeated Augusto Núñez of Argentina in a playoff to claim the trophy in Aguascalientes.
By collecting 500 points as the tournament winner, Alvaro Ortiz increased his season’s point total to 838 to become the new Points List No. 1 player. Ortiz holds a 209-point advantage over MJ Maguire, who slipped into the second spot, with 629 points. The following are the updated standings through the fourth event of the 2020-21 season: