MEXICO CITY, Mexico – With many of the world’s top players preparing to compete in the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec on March 1-5 in Mexico City, a number of qualification deadlines will be finalized in the next two weeks.
One eligibility qualification category that is new this year will allow the top-ranked player from Mexico in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to play in this year’s event. Roberto Diaz entered last week’s Web.Com Tour’s Club Colombia Championship by Servientrega outside the top 700 in the world. A final-round 7-under-par 64 gave Diaz the clubhouse lead. Needing an eagle on the final hole, Ethan Tracy holed out from 101 yards away to force a playoff with Diaz and eventually sealed a victory leaving Diaz as the runner-up. While disappointed not to win, Diaz moved to No. 462 in the rankings which is good enough to make him the No. 1-ranked player from Mexico with just one week remaining before the Feb. 20 cutoff deadline.
As it stands, below are the current rankings along with the tournaments that the players are entered in this week.
Player                      Ranking              Tournament                                           Tour
Roberto Diaz                462                   Panama Claro Championship              Web.Com Tour
Rodolfo Cazaubon        498                   70 Avianca Colombia Open    PGA TOUR Latinoamerica
Sebastian Vazquez         575                   Not playing
Carlos Ortiz                  650                   Panama Claro Championship              Web.Com Tour
Abraham Ancer             658                   Panama Claro Championship              Web.Com Tour
Other qualification criteria with the Feb. 20 deadline include those players in the top 50 of the OWGR that are not already exempt into the Mexico Championship. Those players on the bubble include Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (No. 47), who will compete in his first PGA TOUR event of the season at this week’s Genesis Open. Ireland’s Shane Lowry (No. 51), winner of the 2015 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is among the players currently outside the top 50 that need a strong performance this week in order to move inside the top 50. Lowry finished a respectable T14 at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and will be in the field at the Genesis Open.
Those players inside the top 10 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings as of Feb. 20 will also qualify. Currently, four players inside the top 10 are not yet exempt into the Mexico Championship. On the bubble is Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, who currently sits No. 10 in the standings.
First-timer information
In the current qualifications, six players would make their World Golf Championships debut if the field was finalized today. Of those six players, three have won on the PGA TOUR this season. Five starts into his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes won The RSM Classic in November to move into the top 10 of the FedExCup standings, and he currently sits at No. 7.
In January, University of Georgia product Hudson Swafford collected his first career PGA TOUR victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge over Adam Hadwin and currently owns the No. 8 position in the FedExCup standings.
One week following Swafford’s breakthrough victory, Spanish rookie Jon Rahm won the Farmers Insurance Open in dramatic fashion, holing an improbable eagle putt on the 18th hole to win by three strokes. At No. 37 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Rahm is in strong standing to qualify for the Mexico Championship.
Australia’s Sam Brazel, winner of the UBS Hong Kong Open on the European Tour, currently occupies the No. 6 position in the Race to Dubai standings. Brazel will likely qualify for the Mexico Championship, meaning his start in Mexico City would be his first on the PGA TOUR.
South Africa’s Brandon Stone and Australia’s Matthew Griffin both became eligible for the Mexico Championship and their first World Golf Championships event by topping the 2016 Order of Merit for the Sunshine Tour and Australasian Tour, respectively.