Carlos Ortiz Wins Houston Open to Become First Mexican to Win on PGA Tour in 42 Years

It’s a historic win for Carlos Ortiz 

The 29-year-old Mexican professional golfer holed two long birdie putts from off the green to take the lead, then stayed strong down the stretch and delivered the winning shots for a 5-under 65 and a two-shot victory in the Houston Open.

Carlos Ortiz

Ortiz, a three-time winner on what was then the Web.com Tour in 2014, became the first Mexican to win on the PGA Tour since Victor Regalado in 1978 at the Quad Cities Open.

Ortiz played the final round alongside a former No. 1 player in Jason Day. He spent the back nine locked in a battle with the current No. 1, Dustin Johnson.

He pulled ahead for good with a 6-iron so good Ortiz started walking after it on the par-5 16th. Ortiz had to settle for a two-putt birdie from 8 feet and he finished in style with a 20-foot birdie for a two-shot victory over Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

“I wasn’t really thinking about the other guys. I wasn’t worried,” Ortiz said. “I knew if I played good I was going to be hard to beat. … I knew I was capable of doing that because I know myself, but obviously validating that and then showing it, it definitely gets me more confidence. I’m just happy the way it played out.”

Ortiz held back tears as he waited for his playing partners to putt. The victory sends him to the Masters next April. He was there a year ago to watch his brother, Alvaro, who qualified by winning the Latin American Amateur.

“It feels awesome,” said Ortiz, who grew up in Guadalajara and played at North Texas with Sebastian Munoz of Colombia, the most recent Latin American winner on tour. “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.”

Sebastian Munoz Wins First PGA Tour Title at the Sanderson Farms Championship

It’s a hard-earned first for Sebastian Munoz…

The 26-year-old Colombian professional golfer made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff, and then beat Sungjae Im with a par on the first extra hole to win the Sanderson Farms Championship for his first PGA Tour victory.

Sebastian Munoz

Munoz, who closed with a 2-under 70, made it two straight weeks for South American winners, following Joaquin Niemann‘s victory last week at the Greenbrier.

“Jaco’s win gave me the belief I needed, the little extra belief I’m good enough, I’m here,” Munoz said.

Niemann won by 6 shots at the Greenbrier. Munoz had it far more difficult.

He was among four players in the mix over the back nine at the Country Club of Jackson, and it looked as though Im would snatch his first victory when he made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th, got up and down from a bunker on the reachable 15th for birdie, and made it three straight birdies with a 12-foot putt on 16.

He closed with a 66, and that looked like it might be enough.

Byeong Hun An made consecutive bogeys to fall out of the mix. Carlos Ortiz couldn’t get a putt to fall.

Munoz lost two good scoring opportunities by hitting his drive well right of the fairway on the 14th, and then flubbing a lob shot left of the 15th green that went into the bunker, leading to bogey. Down to his last hole, he played it to perfection with a big drive, an approach to 15 feet below the hole and the most important putt of his young career.

The Bogota native, who played his college golf at the University of North Texas, poured in the birdie putt to join Im at 18-under 270.

“We just decided on a line, kept it as simple as can and just strike the putt,” Munoz said.

The playoff on the 18th hole wasn’t as clean.

Im went left into the Bermuda rough and caught a flier, sending the ball well over the green against the grandstand. Munoz was in the right rough and, expecting the ball to come out hot, he abbreviated his swing and it came out some 30 yards short. His chip-and-run rolled out to just under 4 feet. Im did well to pitch out of rough to just over 6 feet by the hole, but his par putt didn’t even touch the cup and he started walking soon after he hit it.

Munoz rolled in the par putt and the celebration was on.

“I’m speechless,” he said.

This is the first time since the tournament began in 1986 that it was not held the same week as another PGA Tour event with a stronger field. That means it gets full FedEx Cup points, and Munoz earned a spot in the Masters for the first time.

The playoff ended a streak of 38 consecutive PGA Tour events that were decided in regulation, dating to Charles Howell III winning in a playoff at Sea Island at the end of last year.