MEXICO CITY, Mexico – With the 2017 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship fast approaching, many of golf’s well-known Spanish-speaking players have committed to playing in the tournament, which is set to take place in Mexico City, March 1-5, at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The likes of Sergio Garcia, Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas headline those players from Spanish-speaking countries that have committed to the field in Mexico City.
Garcia, a nine-time PGA TOUR winner, had a successful 2015-16 PGA TOUR season with the Spaniard collecting four top-10 finishes including a win at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Garcia is currently No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking and the highest-ranked Spanish-speaking player in the world. In only two events this season, Garcia has a top 10 in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in October (T9).
At No. 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Argentine Emiliano Grillo is coming off a successful rookie season that saw the 24-year-old win his first career PGA TOUR title at the Safeway Open and be named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year after making it to the season finale at the TOUR Championship. In five events this season, Grillo has one top-10 finish – a T10 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Vegas joined Grillo with a T10 of his own in Mayakoba, and is looking to build on a 2015-16 season that yielded the native Venezuelan’s second career PGA TOUR victory at the RBC Canadian Open.
Other Spanish-speaking players expected to compete include 2016 Ryder Cup participant Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
With just over a month remaining for players to qualify for the Mexico Championship, two players recently put themselves in strong standing after hoisting trophies over the weekend. Hudson Swafford birdied three of his final four holes at the PGA TOUR’s CareerBuilder Challenge in Palm Springs, Calif., to capture his first career PGA TOUR victory by one stroke. The breakthrough win moved the Georgia native to No. 6 in the FedExCup standings and in current position to qualify for the Mexico Championship. The top 10 players in the FedExCup standings as of Feb. 27 will officially qualify for the Mexico Championship.
On the other side of the world, England’s Tommy Fleetwood closed with a 31 on the back nine in the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to win by one over 2016 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and former Mexico Championship winner Dustin Johnson. Fleetwood’s second career European Tour victory propelled him to the top of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Standings. The top 10 players in the Race to Dubai standings as of Feb. 20 will officially qualify for the Mexico Championship.
Additionally, those players inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of Feb. 20 and Feb. 27 who are not already exempt will officially qualify for the Mexico Championship.
A new qualification for this year’s championship is that the highest-ranked Mexican player in the Official World Golf Ranking as of Feb. 20 that is not otherwise eligible will qualify for the Mexico Championship.
With only four weeks left, Rodolfo Cazaubón remains the frontrunner. The 27-year old from Tampico is the leading Mexican on the Official World Golf Rankings despite dropping ten spots this past week.
Ranked No. 482, Cazaubón is 69 spots ahead of Sebastián Vázquez of Mexico City, who ranks No. 551. Carlos Ortiz chases Vázquez closely at holds the No. 600.
“I’m obviously happy to be in this position, but we still have to wait because a few of my countrymen can still pass me, hopefully not, because I would love to play the Mexico Championship. It would be a huge opportunity, might be a game changer,” said Cazaubón, who finished T3 at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach and T30 at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“I never thought a World Golf Championship would land in my country, so you can see how much golf has grown here in Mexico. This is great! I’m obviously ecstatic to have the top players in the world coming here for Mexican fans to have an opportunity to see them play.”
Most of the players chasing Cazaubón have Web.com status, which gives them a few more chances to earn OWGR points over the next four weeks. In addition to this week’s The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club, the Web.com Tour will have two other events by February 20.
“I want them to do well at their Web.com Tour events, but I will also love to play the Mexico Championship. We’ll wait and see how they do,” said Cazaubón.
After losing his Web.com Tour card last year, Cazaubón is set to make his return to PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Last Friday, he finished in a tie for the third spot at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-School event played in Mazatlán, Mexico to secure starts in all the events to be played during the first half of the schedule.
The Latinoamérica Tour season will start in three weeks with the 70th playing of the Avianca Colombia Open, the only tournament providing Official World Golf Rankings points that Cazaubón has secured before February 20.
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