After several close calls, Mexican golfer Carlos Ortiz came from behind to emerge as the victor at the Houston Open on Sunday. The win marked not only Ortiz’s first PGA tour victory but also the first PGA title to go to a native Mexican golfer in 42 years.
The 29-year-old Guadalajaran claimed the title with a two-shot victory, blowing past high-ranked golfers Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, and Sam Burns, who started the tournament’s final day in the lead, one shot ahead of Ortiz.
In the end, Ortiz finished the tournament at Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course 13 under par.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the other guys,” he told CNN. “I wasn’t worried. I knew if I played good I was going to be hard to beat.”
However, Ortiz was on the verge of tears at his win, accomplished with a more than 20-foot birdie putt.
“I’ve played great this week and it was really hard to hold the emotions all the way to the end,” he said of his tearful reaction. “But I’m really happy the way it played out and the way I played, too.”
The win places Ortiz into an elite group of only two other Mexican golfers to earn a PGA win — Victor Regalado, who won in 1978 at the Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad Cities Open and in 1974 in the Pleasant Valley Classic, and Cesar Sanudo, who won the Azalea Open Invitational in 1970.
The win also qualifies Ortiz for an invitation to the prestigious 2021 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Course next April.
The Houston Open, which began Thursday, was the first PGA Tour event in the U.S. to have fans in attendance since March.
Sources: CNN (en)