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Mexico Open preview: Finau eyes repeat at Vidanta

Hector Vivas / Getty Images Sport / Getty

After Hideki Matsuyama claimed the Genesis Invitational in Riviera with a final-round 62, the PGA TOUR heads south of the border for the Mexico Open.

This marks the event's third year on the schedule, though it's now moved from late April to February. Defending champion Tony Finau headlines a field that's lean on top talent, but plenty of young players can certainly make their mark in paradise.

Look for explosive scoring around the Vidanta Vallarta Golf Course, as a very friendly layout provides plenty of birdie chances.

When: Feb. 22-25
Where: Vidanta Vallarta Golf Course, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

How to watch (all times ET)

Date Time Channel
Feb. 22 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. GOLF
Feb. 23 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. GOLF
Feb. 24 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. GOLF
3:00 - 6:00 p.m. NBC
Feb. 25 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. GOLF
3:00 - 6:00 p.m. NBC

Last year's result

Hector Vivas / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The two top-ranked players in the field didn't disappoint: Finau claimed his second victory of the season with a three-shot win over Jon Rahm. The pair also set records in the 2023 tournament, with Rahm's third-round 61 becoming the lowest single-round score at the event and Finau's winning total of 260 establishing the new standard.

Because the event debuted in 2022, Rahm and Finau are the only two men to win the trophy. It'll be up to Finau to keep that alive in 2024, as Rahm jumped to LIV Golf and isn't in the field in Mexico.

Featured groups

Group: Keith Mitchell, Charley Hoffman, S.H. Kim
Round 1 - 8:52 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
Round 2 - 1:37 p.m.

Group: Tony Finau, Mackenzie Hughes, Nicolai Hojgaard
Round 1 - 9:03 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
Round 2 - 1:48 p.m.

Group: Chez Reavie, Cameron Champ, Brandt Snedeker
Round 1 - 9:14 a.m. (No. 10 tee)
Round 2 - 1:59 p.m.

Group: Lanto Griffin, Austin Eckroat, Dylan Wu
Round 1 - 1:37 p.m.
Round 2 - 8:52 a.m. (No. 10 tee)

Group: Erik van Rooyen, Emiliano Grillo, K.H. Lee
Round 1 - 1:48 p.m.
Round 2 - 9:03 a.m. (No. 10 tee)

Group: Vincent Norrman, Matt Wallace, Nico Echavarria
Round 1 - 1:59 p.m.
Round 2 - 9:14 a.m. (No. 10 tee)

Reasons to watch

Finau eyeing back-to-back

Rahm nearly went back-to-back last year in Mexico, but Finau stopped his charge for two straight titles. The latter now attempts to conquer that feat as the highest-ranked player in the field in Mexico. The sixth-longest course on TOUR projects as a bomber's paradise with an average fairway width of 41 yards. That plays into Finau's hand: He currently ranks 12th on the circuit in par-5 scoring and 26th in strokes gained: ball-striking - two important stats around Vidanta. Finau hasn't missed a cut this season and heads into the tournament with two top-20 finishes in his last three starts.

Opportunity for young guns

David Cannon / David Cannon Collection / Getty

Opportunity awaits with any field lacking star power at the top - which is certainly the case in Mexico this year. Finau is the only top-30 player competing, so a successful week could lead to a life-changing result for some of the young talent. 22-year-old European Ryder Cup member Nicolai Hojgaard is one of the headliners and reigning NCAA champion Fred Biondi and the Coody twins are playing as well.

Mr. 57 gets called up

After posting the lowest score ever in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event on the Korn Ferry Tour two weeks ago, Cristobal Del Solar got called up for the Mexico Open this week. Del Solar just missed an absurd 56, settling for a round of 13-under that featured two eagles and nine birdies. Del Solar, who's in the field this week on a sponsor's exemption, missed the cut at Vidanta last year with rounds of 66 and 74. A 57 certainly isn't expected, but it'll be worth watching to see if he can parlay the magical round two weeks ago into TOUR success.

Betting odds

Tony Finau +800
Nicolai Hojgaard +1,400
Keith Mitchell +2,200
Stephan Jaeger +2,200
Taylor Pendrith +2,200
Emiliano Grillo +2,500
Thomas Detry +2,500
Thorbjorn Olesen +2,800
Erik Van Rooyen +3,000
Davis Thompson +3,300
Patrick Rodgers +3,300
Ryan Fox +3,500
Jake Knapp +4,000
Ryo Hisatsune +4,000
Cameron Champ +4,500
Maverick McNealy +4,500
Sam Stevens +4,500
Aaron Rai +5,000
Brandon Wu +5,000
Doug Ghim +5,000
Jhonattan Vegas +5,000
Mackenzie Hughes +5,000
Mark Hubbard +5,000

Odds via theScore Bet

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