2023 Mexico Open: Rodgers and Woodland pose threat

Jon Rahm, Mexico Open at Vidanta,(Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)
Jon Rahm, Mexico Open at Vidanta,(Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images) /

Davis Riley and Nick Hardy stormed back on Sunday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to earn their first PGA Tour wins.

The team’s closing round of 65 during Foursomes was the second-best round of the day, only bettered by Canadians, Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, whose final round 63  tied the tournament Foursomes record.

The newly crowned Zurich Classic champions are currently listed in the field for this week’s 2023 Mexico Open at Vidanta. Sandwiched in-between designated events on the PGA Tour’s schedule, this week’s Mexico Open field features just two of the world’s top 20 ranked players.

World number one and 2022 Mexico Open champion Jon Rahm headlines this week’s field at Vidanta Vallarta. Rahm is joined by 2022 runners-up Tony Finau and Brandon Wu, with Finau the only other top-20-ranked player in the field.

143 of 144 players will be tasked with denying the Spaniard a second straight Mexico Open title this week. Can anyone deny the Masters champion? Here are a few names to monitor early in the week.

2023 Mexico Open at Vidanta First Look

Patrick Rodgers

That allusive first win was within Rodgers’ grasp a few weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open, but alas, the wait continues. Instead, Patrick had to settle for a 5th-place finish at TPC San Antonio after closing with a round of 73.

Rodgers followed up his performance in Texas with a T19 finish at the RBC Heritage in his last start and he returns to the Mexico Open in 2023 following a top-10 finish at Vidanta Vallarta last year.

Patrick has gained over five strokes from tee to green in his last two starts, this includes no fewer than two strokes on approach in each start. He has the tools to excel at Vidanta as he proved here last year and he comes in with solid form; those two aspects make the 30-year-old someone worth keeping an eye on this week.

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Wyndham Clark

Clark was in the heat of the battle over the weekend at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans before he and his playing partner for the week, Beau Hossler, slipped down the leaderboard during Sunday’s final round after closing with a 71.

The duo had a real opportunity to earn their first PGA Tour wins and it will be interesting to see how much of a toll that takes on Wyndham coming into this week’s Mexico Open. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, however.

Clark is having a fantastic season with five top 10s in seventeen starts after last week’s showing in Louisiana. The Colorado native hasn’t lost strokes from tee to green now in any measured event since The American Express in January.

He made the cut in his first appearance at Vidanta last year and it is a layout that should play to his strengths. It will be interesting to see where Wyndham’s odds open on Monday.

Gary Woodland

The 2019 U.S. Open champion is having a bit of a resurgent season thus far with three top-20 finishes and just three missed cuts in his last thirteen starts. He has gained strokes off the tee in every start since the season-opening Fortinet Championship last September.

Gary’s last two starts include a 14th-place finish in the year’s first major at the Masters and a 31st at the RBC Heritage where he gained over two strokes both off the tee and with his approaches.

Woodland rates out 4th in approach play from beyond 200 yards this season on the PGA Tour; that accuracy with his long irons should help out on a lengthy layout like Vidanta Vallarta’s. Gary finished 24th at the inaugural Mexico Open at Vidanta last year.

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He could be on the brink of winning again soon and is certainly someone worth keeping an eye on heading into the 2023 Mexico Open.