Van Rooyen's T3 in Mexico Elevates Him to No. 40 in OWGR
February 24, 2020
MEXICO CITY -- Patrick Reed put on a remarkable display of putting last week at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and the result was a victory in the WGC Mexico Championship. The 29-year-old former Masters champ one-putted 46 of 72 greens during the tournament, and capped off his performance with birdies at the par-5 15th, par-4 16th and par-3 17th holes during the final round on Sunday.
That enabled him to overtake Bryson DeChambeau down the stretch on the way to a closing round of 4-under-par 67, which gave him a winning total of 266 (18 under). It allowed him the luxury of being able to bogey the final hole, after an errant tee shot, and still claim the first-place check of $1,820,000.
This was Reed's second World Golf Championship victory and his eighth PGA Tour title overall.
As for DeChambeau, who made $1,150,000, he took the lead Sunday with four birdies on the first five holes of the back nine. Playing one group ahead of Reed, he bogeyed the 17th, at roughly the same time Reed was making his birdie at the 16th to take the lead. Reed's birdie at the 17th gave him all the insurance he needed.
Finishing three behind Reed in a tie for third at 269 were Erik Van Rooyen and Jon Rahm.
Van Rooyen , a former University of Minnesota star from South Africa, won the 2012 Minnesota State Amateur at Hastings CC, then turned professional the following spring, after completing his eligibility for the Gophers. He played mainly on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa for the next four years, but he earned his first victory as a pro in Minnesota, at the 2016 Tapemark Charity Pro-Am at Southview Country Club.
That victory was worth $6,000.
On Sunday, Van Rooyen and Rahm made $600,000 apiece as their shares of third place.
In the Tapemark that Van Rooyen won, he played the first nine holes in 3 over par, before realizing that he needed to keep the ball below the pins on Southview's greens. He then played the last 45 holes in 15 under.
Last Thursday, in the opening round of the WGC Mexico, Van Rooyen was 3 over after his first nine holes (the back nine at Chapultepec). He got started in the right direction with a chip-in for eagle at the 305-yard, par-4 first hole. He chipped in one more time before the day was done, and managed to finish the round under par with a 70.
Friday was Van Rooyen's 30th birthday, and he celebrated by tying the then-course record score of 62, with another chip-in. (Rahm broke the record with a 61 on Saturday.)
A winner of one tournament and more than 2 million euros last year on the European Tour, Van Rooyen was in the final group both Saturday and Sunday, and he held his own in competition with playing partners who were all PGA Tour winners and ranked near the top of the Official World Golf Rankings. On Saturday, he got off to a birdie-eagle start and birdied four holes in a five-hole stretch on the back nine, on his way to a 67. On Sunday, he birdied the first and second holes and was tied for the lead.
He suffered his only double bogey of the week on the par-4 10th hole, where he hit his tee shot into the left trees, punched his second shot into a greenside bunker and then blasted the next shot 20 yards over the green. A birdie and a bogey followed, but Van Rooyen lifted himself back into the top three in the standings with birdies at the 15th and 16th holes, and signed for a final-round 70.
Although he isn't an official member of the PGA Tour, Van Rooyen has made $667,000 in the two PGA Tour events that he's played during the 2019-20 season. The money from WGC tournaments also counts toward the European Tour money list, where Van Rooyen is now No. 6, with the equivalent of 776,511 euros.
The tie for third raised him from No. 52 in last week's OWGR to No. 40 this week. He has already claimed a spot in this year's Masters by being in the top 50 at the end of the 2019 calendar year, and he got into the WGC Mexico field by being No. 50 in the rankings a couple of weeks ago. At No. 40 this week, should now be a lock to get into the Players Championship and the WGC Match Play Championship in March, both of which have the same top-50 qualifcation category.
WGC Mexico Championship
At Club de Golf Chapultepec
Par 71, 7,355 yards
1. Patrick Reed $1,820,000 69-63-67-67--266
2. Bryson DeChambeau $1,150,000 68-63-71-65--267
T3. Erik Van Rooyen $600,000 70-62-67-70--269
T3. Jon Rahm $600,000 72-69-61-67--269
5. Rory McIlroy $430,000 65-69-68-68--270
Minnesotans or players with Minnesota connections who are listed in the Official World Golf Rankings
Rank Player (Prev. Rank) From Final 2019 Rank Highest Career Ranking (Date)
40. Erik Van Rooyen (50), South Africa 49* 40 (current)
146. Tom Hoge (144), Fargo 240 142 (2020)
154 Troy Merritt (154), Spring Lake Park 140 82 (2016)
714. Charlie Danielson (708), Osceola 692 630 (2019)
865. Brady Schnell (836), Milford, Iowa 752 291 (2018)
1544. Justin Doeden (1542), Lakeville South 1548 1447 (2019)
1599. Tim Herron (1534), Wayzata 1425 29 (1999)
1623. Ben Polland (1599), Spring Lake Park 1428 747 (2018)
* -- The top 50 players from the final 2019 rankings, including Erik Van Rooyen, have earned invitations to the 2020 Masters.
T2085. Tom Lehman (T2082), Alexandria T2074 1 (1997)
T2085. Cameron Beckman (T2082), Burnsville T2074 75 (2002)
T2085. Neil Johnson (T2082), River Falls T2074 1147 (2004)
T2085. Andre Metzger (2082), Sioux Falls T2074 1443 (2012)
T2085. Donald Constable (T2082), MInnetonka T2074 1491 (2013)
T2085. Derek Chang (2082), Atlanta T2074 1558 (2015)
T2085. Robert Bell (T2082), Pierz T2074 1584 (2015)
T2085. Andrew McCain (T2082), Minneapolis/Nashville T2074 1925 (2018)
T2085. Nick Heinen, Edmond (T2082), Okla. T2074 1986 (2018)
T2085. Craig Brischke (T282), Madison, Wis. T2074 T2061 (2019)