Mexico City, Mexico (March 17, 2013) - Ted Purdy of Phoenix, Arizona, a 39-year old veteran with career wins on both the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour, claimed the 55th playing of the Abierto Mexicano de Golf – the Mexico Open Championship – to become the first winner of the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.
Purdy birdied the 17th hole on Sunday afternoon to card a 70 (-2) in the final round to slip ahead and secure the victory. He finished the week at 7-under par 281 at the Club de Golf Mexico, where the sun shined today to provide significantly better playing conditions after two days of low temperatures.
Competing in a category for current Web.com Tour members, Purdy defeated Colombia’s David Vanegas, 71, by one. Chile's Benjamín Alvarado, 72, and Argentina’s Jorge Fernández-Valdés, 74, finished two strokes back in a tie for fourth. Fernández-Valdés had entered the final day holding a one-shot lead over Purdy and Vanegas.
“It’s a tremendous honor to win a National Open. I couldn’t be happier. This is my first win since 2005 (at the PGA TOUR’s EDS Byron Nelson Championship), so I’m very excited," said Purdy, who also won the 2003 First Tee Arkansas Classic on the Web.com Tour.
“This Tour has amazing talent. Jorge (Fernández-Valdés), with whom I played today, is an amazing player. I wish I had been that talented by the age of 20. You know, I have won about 8 million dollars throughout my career and I believe Jorge will earn about 80 million throughout his. I feel honored to have won here. It wasn’t easy, so I feel very honored to have won,” the champion said about the competition he found on his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica start ever.
Besides the birdie on 17, Purdy had two other key moments in today’s final round. At the par-four No. 8, with Fernandez-Valdes ahead by two strokes, Purdy was lucky to hit a fan after a poor second shot. “Yea, that was huge! When I hit the lady in orange, I knew I was going to win, because that shot probably saved me one or two shots, and then, I make it on 11. I felt pretty comfortable, but Jorge was pretty good,” Purdy admitted.
Three holes later, at the par-five No. 11, which is 571-yard long, he reached the green in two and holed an eight-footer for eagle to move ahead by two.
Purdy, who began the tournament with a 74, climbed the leader board with a round of 69 on Friday and a brilliant bogey-free 68 on Saturday, when the playing conditions were really difficult.
“The reason I won this tournament was because of my short game, my putter and my wedge. When you have those difficult conditions and even for me to get that up-and-down on 18 to win. I relied on my short game to win this week for sure,” commented the second oldest player ever to win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
The winner earned US $ 27,000 dollars to become the first player to lead the Tour’s Order of Merit.
Weather It was sunny in the morning and mostly cloudy in the afternoon, with temperatures on the high 70s. The wind was not a factor today.
"Los Cinco" Representing five different countries, Ted Purdy, David Vanegas, Benjamín Alvarado, Jorge Fernández-Valdés and Oscar Serna are the first five players ranked as “Los Cinco”. Those finishing the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season as the Order of Merit’s top 5 players will gain status to compete on the Web.com Tour in 2014.
David Vanegas Today’s solo second finish was David Vanegas’ best career finish in four PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts. His previous best finish was T14 at the 65th Arturo Calle Colombian Open last September. “I had several birdie opportunities on the back nine, but I was unable to take advantage of them," said the 26-year old from Medellin.
Benjamín Alvarado "This third place finish makes me very happy," wrote Chile's Benjamín Alvarado on his twitter account. Visibly tired this week, Alvarado fought hard to finish T3 and claim his best career finish on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Alvarado will miss the Tour’s next event in Guadalajara because he tied for fourth last week at the Web.com Tour’s Chile Classic and earned a spot on the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which begins on Thursday at Le Triomphe CC.
Jorge Fernández-Valdés Entering the day holding the overnight lead by one, Argentina’s Jorge Fernández-Valdés played on the last pairing for the second time in only eight Tour starts. He stayed in the hunt right until the final hole, but four-putted to slip into a two-way tie for third. The other time he played on the last pairing, he finished solo second at the 2012 Puerto Rico Classic. “I've got to keep working on what I'm working. Every week you learn something new and you have to take the positives out of every situation,” said the 20-year old who turned pro in October.
Next PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will spend another week in Mexico. The following event on the 2013 schedule is the TransAmerican Power Products Atlas CRV Open, which begins on Thursday at Atlas Country Club in Guadalajara, Jalisco.