Nov 9th, 2020
Historic win for Ortiz at Houston Open
First Mexican to win on PGA Tour in over forty years
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images / PGA Tour
Ortiz was in the final group alongside Jason Day and overnight leader Sam Burns. However, it was world number one Dustin Johnson that the Mexican found himself locked in a battle with down the stretch. Japan's favourite son also joined the fray with a late charge for the line.
The three players were locked at eleven-under-par at the top of the leaderboard but Ortiz went ahead at the par five 16th hole where he hit his second shot to just eight feet. He missed his eagle effort but the birdie gave him a one shot lead.
Matsuyama birdied both the 16th and 17th hole but could not find the birdie he needed at the last to join Ortiz on twelve-under-par. Meanwhile, Johnson failed to birdie the long 16th despite only having a seven iron for his second to the green. The world number one then missed from around eight feet for his birdie at the 17th hole.
When Johnson narrowly missed his birdie effort at the last, the stage was Ortiz’s. The Mexican kept his cool first finding the fairway and then hitting his second to some twenty feet. His birdie putt found the centre of the cup and you could see the Mexican well up as he watched his playing partners putt out as the enormity of what he had just achieved hit home.
"It feels awesome," said Ortiz, "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."
Ortiz was the first winner since back in March to receive a cheer on the final green. The Houston Open was the first domestic PGA Tour event allowed spectators since the pandemic took hold, with 2,000 tickets sold for each of the four days.
Neither the overnight leader Sam Burns or former world number one, Jason Day featured in the fight on the final day. Burns had a closing round of 72 and Day managed three birdies in his final six holes to be one-over for the day with a 71.
Brooks Koepka had looked in the hunt at one point getting to within a shot of the lead before fading slightly over the final holes. The world number twelve finished in a tie for fifth on eight-under-par after shooting his second 65 of the weekend. The man from Florida may well be timing his return to form perfectly for the Masters this week.