World No 1 Jon Rahm sits in tied-12th and six shots behind leader Tony Finau, who is searching for a second win of the season; Watch the Mexico Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 29/04/23 7:37am
Tony Finau holds a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Mexico Open at Vindanta, with world No 1 Jon Rahm recovering from a mid-round blip to stay in contention.
Finau followed an opening-round 65 with a seven-under 64 at Vidanta Vallarta to move to 13 under, a shot ahead of compatriot Brandon Wu and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen.
The world No 16, who started on the back nine, took advantage of the par-five 12th and 14th before firing three birdies in a row from the 16th to reach the turn in 31.
Finau followed a 30-foot birdie at the par-three fifth by making a two-putt gain at the par-five next and picking up a shot at the driveable par-four seventh, taking him to eight under for his round, with his only bogey coming when he three-putted his penultimate hole.
“I played really nicely over the last couple days and was able to capitalize with the putter on shots that I hit pretty close,” Finau said. “That was probably the biggest story, hitting it nicely, but being able to capitalize with the putter is very important out here and I was able to do that.
Wu recovered from an opening-hole bogey to birdie four of his last five holes and match Finau’s 64, while Van Rooyen birdied three of his last four holes to close a second-round 66 and also head into the weekend tied-second.
First-round leader Austin Smotherman – who had only two birdies all day – slipped four strokes back alongside Akshay Bhatia, Andrew Putnam, Will Gordon and Eric Cole, with former major champion Jimmy Walker a further stroke back after a bogey-free 67.
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Rahm, chasing a fifth win of 2023, holed a long-range eagle at the sixth and made a two-putt birdie at the par-four next, only to find water off the ninth tee to register a double-bogey five.
The Spaniard responded to starting his back nine with a bogey by birdieing three of his next four holes, cancelling out a bogey at the 16th by birdieing the last to get within six of the lead.
“For a round that for the most part was good, there were two or three swings that were bad that cost me a little bit too much today,” Rahm admitted. “A couple unforced errors all week that so far have cost me more than they should.
“I don’t think I’m playing bad, I think I’ve given away a couple more shots to some of the leaders and that’s why I’m quite a bit away.”
Watch the Mexico Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Early coverage of the third round begins on Saturday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 6pm.
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