Mauricio Molina birdied the final hole of regulation and then parred the first playoff hole to defeat Andy Matthews and capture the Corona Mexican PGA Championship.
Matthews three-putted the final hole from 30 feet to force the playoff after both finished at 11 under par 277.
Australian Stephen Dartnall closed with a 71 to finish solo third, one shot out of the playoff.
Finishing in a share of fourth at nine under par 279 were Mike Mezei (67), Manuel Inman (69), Stuart Anderson (68), J.J. Rodriguez (70) and third round co-leaders John Ellis and Eugene Smith, who both shot 73.
“My strategy today was to hit my drives well,” said Molina, who took home $20,000 for the victory. “I have a strong short game. so I wasn’t as worried about that.
“The only mistake I made today was, funny enough, with my short game when I bogeyed the eighth hole,” he added. “The greens are very complicated and difficult to read and my short game let me down at that hole.”
Standing on the 18th tee and two back, Molina’s goal was to finish second. “I didn’t think I could catch him, so I just wanted to make a birdie,” he said.
“I knew where he stood and he was playing very well. I didn’t think he would three-putt his last hole.”
Matthews hit his approach to 30 feet, ran the birdie putt past the hole and, with Molina looking on, missed the comebacker.
“I caught it a little heavy, but I thought I had an extra shot to play with and didn’t realize I was in a playoff until I saw everyone scrambling around,” said Matthews.
The pair went back to the tee and Matthews hit his drive into the trees, where the ball stayed.
Waiting in vain for a gust of wind to release his ball, he was forced to return to the tee and, with Molina in the middle of the fairway, it was pretty much academic.
“While I’m not happy with the finish, I am happy with how I’ve been playing in recent weeks,” said Matthews.
“I’ve been working hard on focus and relaxation and it’s paying off. Being in contention like this and having the butterflies swirling is what we play for,” he added.
“This is a big confidence booster and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
NOTES: Players from Argentina have won all four Canadian Tour events in 2009 … The Tour travels north of Mexico City next week for the San Luis Potosi Open. Russell Surber is the defending champion. San Luis Potosi is 6,000 feet above sea level. The La Loma course is a Jack Nicklaus Signature design where the wind is often a factor.
-With notes from Canadian Tour