Rookie Jake Knapp captures 2024 Mexico Open in only his ninth PGA Tour event

Jake Knapp, a 29-year old PGA Tour rookie playing in only his ninth event, captured the 2024 Mexico Open firing a total 19-under par at Vidanta.

The PGA TOUR headed South of the border last week to Vidanta Vallarta Course at Vidanta Nuevo Nayarit-Vallarta that hosted the 2024 Mexico Open.

One week after a ‘signature event’ at the Genesis Invitational, the field in Mexico did not feature the world’s top golfers. Despite being an official event, only one player (defending champion Tony Finau) was in the top 30 on the Official World Golf Rankings, which have become questionable benchmark of greatness.

The 2024 Mexico Open appears on the PGA TOUR schedule for only the third time as an official FedExCup event, held from February 22 to 25, with a 132-player field, offering 500 FedExCup points to the winner and a $8,100.000 purse. This was a $400,000 increase over last year’s purse. The winner’s share this year was $1,458,000 a $72,000 increase.


Awarded Renovation of the Year by Golf Inc. magazine in 2022, the Vidanta Vallarta Course is home to the PGA TOUR Mexico Open at Vidanta and is designed by golf legend Greg Norman. Featuring wall-to-wall paspalum, the layout winds along the Ameca River, providing views of the Sierra Madre mountains from every hole. Large landing areas off the tee give way to large undulating greens protected by cavernous bunkers, in typical Norman fashion.


The Mexico Open dates back to 1944 when it was called ‘Abierto Mexicano de Golf‘ and is considered Mexico’s national championship. In the 80 years, since the first Mexican Open tournament, there has been 9 name changes. When it became a permanent part of the PGA TOUR season in 2022-2023 it returned back to its original name Mexico Open.


It’s a little difficult to not think that you’re watching the JV version of the 2024 PGA TOUR when you don’t see many of the Varsity players on the course this weekend.

The current players, with the highest (OWGR) are (24) Tony Finau -2, (34) Nicolai Hojgaard -3, (40) Emiliano Grillo -2, and (41) Ryan Fox -E. None of these top 50 ranked players were found higher than tied for 22nd place on the final leaderboard.

The Mexico Open is unique opportunity for a number of these players, whose names are seldom seen at the top of a PGA TOUR leaderboard, to have a chance to show their talents here this weekend and move themselves up a few notches in both the Official World Golf Rankings and FedEx Cup standing.

The end of Round 1 leaderboard had, 1st place Eric Van Rooyen, who made 2 eagles on his way to his 8-under 63. When asked about his secret to his success playing here in Mexico, Eric said, “I don’t know what it is, got to be the food, the people, the whole shebang.”

2nd place belongs to Sami Valimaki -7. 3rd place MJ Daffue -6, Christobal Del Solar -6, David Lipsky -6, and Henrik Norlander -6. Robby Shelton -4 recorded the longest birdie streak of the 2024 season with seven in a row (Nos. 6-12) during the first round.



Korn Ferry Golfer Alvaro Ortiz fired a 7-under-par 64, as he looks for another victory in his home country. He won twice on the Mexican Golf Tour at the end of last year and has now comfortably moved into a tie for the lead at the Mexico Open.

“The more I play the more comfortable I feel, and I start to realize that I have the game.” Ortiz said, “I’ve been doing good work and (trying to) put four rounds together. Hopefully, I can do that this weekend.

Matt Wallace followed an opening-round 66 with a six-under 65 on Friday, leaving himself in a four-way tie for first. “My iron play is great, putting was really nice,” Wallace said. “I managed my game at the end there really well…”

The Leaderboard at the end of Round 2 has 1st place Alvaro Ortiz (67 64), Jake Knapp (67 64), Matt Wallace (66,65) and Sami Valimaki (64 67) at 11-under 131. They are one shot ahead of first-round leader Erik van Rooyen (63 69). Defending champion Tony Finau shot a 67 on Friday to join with a group of 17 other golfers at 6 under.

Top names missing the cut (2-under) were Charley Hoffman -E, Ryan Fox +2, Francesco Molinari +2 and Mackenzie Hughes +8


It didn’t take long for the sun-trench gallery, at today’s Mexico Open, to start searching through their programs trying to find out who was this guy with “knapptime” written on his golf bag.

Jake Knapp began his third round in a four-way share of the lead and playing in front of the largest gallery while paired with Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico. Not exactly sure what sparked Knapp’s sudden rise to the top of the leaderboard, when he proceeded to birdie 7 of his first nine holes for a course record tying (28), but it was an awesome display by the 29-year-old “Rookie.”

Trying to deal with his sudden popularity and nerves, Knapp proceeded to hit his tee shot, off the 10th, directly into the left hazard and ended up taking a drop leading to a bogey on the hole to drop down to 17-under par. Just 2 strokes ahead of Sami Valimaki 15-under, who had 4 birdies and a (31) on the front nine.

Knapp went on to birdie 4 holes and bogey 3 holes on the back nine and finish up with an 8-under par 63. His three-day total of 19-under par ties the 54-hole tournament scoring record and takes a four-shot lead that could set the stage for what could be a record-breaking finish.

More than the Masters is at stake for Knapp and Valimaki, another PGA Tour rookie, who earned his card this year from being among the leading 10 players on the European Tour. A victory comes with a two-year exemption, a spot in the remaining five $20 million Signature Events, and the PGA Championship

The Leaderboard at the end Round 3 had 1st place Jake Knapp -19 (67 64 63), 2nd place Sami Valimaki -15 (64 67 67). 3rd place Ben Silverman -12 (70 68 63), Henrik Norlander -12 (65 71 65), and Chan Kim -12 (66 69 66).



A perfect day for golf had given the field an equal opportunity to “go low” while removing all the possible excuses. Considering the lack of top 50 players here this week, there has been no decline in the level of golf being played (so far) by some very talented “new faces” on the PGA TOUR.

Jake Knapp 17-under, looks like he’s picked up a case of the jitters as he struggled out of the starting gate. He bogeyed the 1st hole and had trouble off the tee again on his 2nd hole, but managed to walk away with a par. He hit his 3rd tee shot into the water hazard and was forced to take a drop which resulted in his 2nd bogey of the round. His “dream” round was slowly turning into a “nightmare.”

Sami Valimaki 18-under, has been playing along side Knapp 18-under in the final group, and has been the beneficiary of Knapp’s two bogeys and 1 birdie coupled with his own birdie and an eagle on the 7th hole, as they moved to the 8th tee in a “dead heat.”

The leaderboard as the final twosome headed to the 10th had 1st place (10) Jake Knapp -18, (10) Sami Valimaki -18. 3rd place (15) Patrick Rodgers -13, (65) Stephan Jaeger -13, (17) CT Pan -13, (13) Andrew Novak -13, and (11) Justin Lower -13. It appears at this point that it’s a two-man race to the finish.

The longer the final round progressed the more it began to look like a Country Club’s annual Member-Guest Tournament. It seemed as though some players were just not ready for Prime Time and others forgot to bring their A game with them. The leaderboard appeared to have the power shut off as only Knapp and Valimaki saw the top two spots all day long.


Jake Knapp 19-under is the winner of the 2024 Mexico Open. This is his first win on the PGA TOUR in only nine attempts. He receives the Mexico Open Trophy and the winner’s check for $1,458,000 along with 500 FedExCup points. This was Jake’s 9th PGA TOUR event and only his 2nd pay check. He finished 3rd at the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open. His career earnings, prior to today, were $562,132.00.

NBC Sports Reporter Damon Hack asked Jake, “With your four shot lead gone through seven holes, you hit 2 fairways on this Sunday. How did you find the gumption to get the job done today?”

“I didn’t necessarily have my best stuff today, that’s for sure. I kind of told Mike (Caddie), I was like, after those first three holes, that’s as bad as we could have played,” he said. “We still got a two-shot lead. So just trying to settle in, that would have been nice to hit driver better and hit a little bit better, but we’re super pumped on on how I played in the the finishing stretch and yeah just grind it out.”

2nd place went to Sami Valimaki 17-under. Sami picked up a check for $882,900.00 and 300 FedExCup points.

3rd place has C.T. Pan, Justin Lower and Stephan Jaeger tied at 6-under. They split the 3rd, 4th and 5th place money. Each received a check for $429,300.00 and 190 FedExCup points.

Bill Sangster, a life-long golf aficionado and former Sergeant in Marines, moved to Cape Cod in 1974 where he raised his family while working as educator with the Sandwich School System for 23 years. With his Falmouth home adjacent to Paul Harney’s Golf Course, Bill spent many days learning and playing the game of golf. He was a member of White Cliffs Country Club and Sandwich Hollows Country on Cape Cod. In 2018 he continued his love for the game of golf by moving to “The Villages” in Florida. He now will admit to anyone who asks that he is addicted to the game of golf! Bill can be reached at

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