The second-hottest player in the past 12 months outduelled the hottest golfer at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Tony Finau, runner-up to Jon Rahm a year ago, flipped the script, beating Rahm head-to-head on the final day and winning for the fourth time since tying for second in 2022.

With a final-round five-under 66, Finau beat Rahm, the world No.1 and reigning Masters champion, by three strokes to record his sixth career PGA Tour victory and join Rahm, Max Homa and Scottie Scheffler as multiple winners during the 2022-2023 tour season. Finau, who finished with a record 24-under 260 aggregate total, has won four times in his past 18 starts spanning 280 days.

Before Finau tapped in for par on the par-5 home hole, Rahm put his arm around his American friend and offered congratulations.

“It feels amazing,” said Finau, 33, who was the second-highest ranked player in the field behind Rahm at No.16 in the world. “Rahmbo is the best… he’s on top of the world right now, and I knew I was going to have my hands full with him all the way to the end. I didn’t know this golf tournament was mine until I hit this green here [at 18]. It’s crazy how this game is; you never think you have it won until it’s over.”

Seeking his seventh worldwide win and fifth on the PGA Tour since his one-stroke victory a year ago at Vidanta Vallarta Golf Course, Rahm couldn’t sustain the momentum from a third-round 61 that catapulted him into contention. The Spaniard birdied the last for a 67 and 263 total, while Brandon Wu, who briefly tied Finau for the lead, shot 68 to finish third at 265.

Wu caught Finau at 21-under when he went eagle-birdie at holes six and seven, respectively, to cap a five-under burst in his first seven holes. However, Finau birdied the short seventh from five feet while Wu bogeyed the eighth from the right greenside bunker to re-establish Finau’s two-stroke lead by which he began the final round.

Tied for second with Finau and Kurt Kitayama last year, Wu fell farther behind when he drove into the water at the par-4 10th and suffered a double-bogey, leaving Rahm as the closest pursuer three shots back. Rahm never got closer, and neither did anyone else thanks to timely birdies and a few key par saves, including an 18-footer from the fringe at the eighth that kept Finau in control.

Finau, who has won by an average of four shots in his past four victories, converted for the third time in eight tries when holding the 54-hole lead by opening with an 11-footer for birdie and going on to complete a bogey-free final round to collect $US1.386 million.

Akshay Bhatia, who has special temporary membership on tour, began the day tied for second with Rahm two behind Finau, but only managed 70 to end up fourth at 266.