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Jake Knapp, PGA Tour rookie, emerges victorious at the Mexico Open

PGA Tour rookie Jake Knapp emerged as the champion of the Mexico Open on Sunday, securing his first PGA Tour victory by finishing the week at 19-under par. He outpaced fellow rookie Sami Valimaki by two strokes.

Despite starting the final round with a comfortable four-shot lead, Knapp faced challenges as his driver, which had been reliable in the previous rounds, faltered. On Sunday, he only hit two fairways out of 18, becoming the first PGA Tour player since 1983 to win a tournament while hitting two or fewer fairways in the final round. Knapp had an impressive 33 out of 39 fairways hit from Thursday to Saturday.

Nevertheless, Knapp clinched the victory by managing a tap-in par on the 18th hole after his drive landed in a left fairway bunker. Valimaki, needing an eagle to force a playoff, took a risk but missed the opportunity as his drive hit the cart path and ended up under a fence. With Valimaki out of contention, Knapp sealed the win with a par.

“Just grinding it out,” Knapp described his final round to NBC.

At 29 years old, Knapp has shown resilience and determination throughout his professional golf career. Despite facing difficulties and working odd jobs like being a nightclub security guard due to lack of tour status, he persevered. His breakthrough came when he secured his PGA Tour card for this season after finishing 13th in the season-long standings on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Knapp’s victory at the Mexico Open follows his strong performances at the Farmers Insurance Open and WM Phoenix Open. With this win, he earns $1.458 million and secures his spot in prestigious tournaments like the Masters, PGA Championship, and The Players Championship.

(Photo of Jake Knapp: Hector Vivas / Getty Images)

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