Consider 118 a lucky number for Carlos Ortiz.
The veteran from Guadalajara, Mexico, needed that many PGA Tour events to finally capture his first title, but it was a special one — his 65 on Sunday was enough to edge Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama and capture the Vivint Houston Open.
Ortiz, who played collegiately at North Texas, had been showing signs he was ready to break through, making three cuts in five starts this season, but hadn’t cracked the top 30 in any event. He came into Houston ranked 160th in the Official World Golf Ranking (and 136 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings), but looked surprisingly comfortable on the front as he fired a bogey-free 32 to pull ahead. He shot a 65 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 13 under.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s goal was to get his game in top gear with the Masters on the near horizon. Consider Johnson’s motor up and running.
The World No. 1 missed a few chances down the stretch, but he proved he’s ready to contend for his first green jacket next week. Johnson shot a 65, although he did miss chances on Nos. 16 and 17 that would have pulled him event with Ortiz.
Hideki Matsuyama didn’t look like he’d be a threat to break a long drought after posting two rounds of even-par to open the tournament, but after a 66 on Saturday, he was aggressive all Sunday in pulling into a tie for the lead.
Matsuyama, who last won at the 2017 WGC-FedEx St. Jude, barely missed a putt on No. 18 that would have forced the issue, but he still finished with a course-record 63 (one of three) to finish at 11 under.
The tournament marked the first time the PGA Tour has played at Memorial Park since 1963. Architect Tom Doak was the front man for a $34 million renovation funded through a foundation headed by Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane.
Brooks Koepka, who had helped with the renovation of the Memorial Park, made an early run with a 30 on the front, but he cooled just a tad on the back and posted a second straight 65 to finish the tournament at 8 under.
Meanwhile, 54-hold leader Sam Burns saw his hopes of capturing his first PGA Tour title dashed early. Burns opened the day with a bogey, then added a double on No. 4 to drop off the top of the leaderboard.