On a marathon Sunday of golf at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Brendon Todd and Vaughn Taylor are running stride for stride and share the lead at 20 under. But a champion won’t be crowned until Monday as play was suspended due to darkness at 6:11 p.m., with the leaders on the 15th hole, their 33rd hole of the day.
What’s one more night to wait for Taylor, who last won in 2016, and his pursuers, Harris English, who hasn’t won since the 2013 Mayakoba Golf Classic, and Carlos Ortiz, who is seeking his first Tour title?
Todd, meanwhile, ended a five-year victory drought at the Tour’s last event, the Bermuda Championship, two weeks ago (there was no Tour event scheduled last week).
The 34-year-old Todd is positioned to win in back-to-back events on the PGA Tour after posting his eighth consecutive score in the 60s. When asked earlier this week to name his goals for the rest of the season, Todd said he needed to recalibrate before adding, “I guess I’d like to win again and make it to the Tour Championship.”
He could check off the first part and take a huge step toward the latter with a victory on Monday. The last player to win consecutive Tour events was Bryson DeChambeau, who was victorious in the first two events of the 2018 FedEx Cup Playoffs at The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship.
It’s a remarkable comeback for Todd, who missed 37 of 41 cuts from 2016-18 while struggling with the full-swing yips. After regaining his Tour privileges this season, Todd set an initial goal to get back into contention and see how he’d perform under the pressure.
He’s handled it with aplomb, shooting a final-round 62 to win in Bermuda and was 3 under through 14 holes in his final round at El Camaleon Golf Club. Todd made three birdies on the front nine and tacked on another at No. 12 to lead by two strokes. But Taylor made birdie at 13 and Todd made a bogey at 14, his first of the week on the back nine, and the lead was gone.
The final group called it a day after reaching the 15th green. Todd could have waited until Monday to hit his tee shot but opted to play on after the horn blew, planting his ball 10 feet from the hole at the par-3 15th while Taylor will face a testy 5-foot par putt after coming up short with his tee shot and leaving himself work to do with his chip.
“I wanted to hit the shot because I’m loose and there’s no wind,” Todd told the Golf Channel. “I thought I could get it in there close and come back and make birdie.”
Ortiz, on the other hand, was on the 18th hole and opted to wait to finish his round on Monday as his fellow playing competitors finished in the dark. The Mexico native opened with a double bogey, but bounced back to make seven birdies to get to 19 under. He’s tied with Harris English, the 36-hole leader who closed the gap with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. Adam Long is two back at 18 under and marked his ball on the 16th green after play was suspended. Twelve golfers were remaining on the course. When asked what it would mean to win on home soil, Ortiz said, “Winning anywhere, it’s pretty special, and winning in front of my family would probably be like a dream come true.”
All four rounds of the Mayakoba Golf Classic have been played under preferred lies due to heavy rain earlier in the week that prevented play on Thursday. The field has been playing catch-up ever since. Todd fired 6-under 65 in Sunday morning’s third round to grab a one-stroke lead over Taylor and English at 17-under 196.
Todd vaulted into the lead with a chip-in at 16, one of seven birdies in his third round. His string of eight rounds in the 60s is his longest since carding eight straight in 2014, the year of his maiden victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Taylor, 43, is seeking his fourth victory and first since the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He stormed out of the gate on Sunday with birdies on four of his first five holes en route to shooting 4-under 67 and a 54-hole total of 16 under. In the final round, Taylor hit 10 of 11 fairways and 11 of 14 greens in regulation before play was suspended for the day.
English, 30, endured a roller-coaster round of 3-under 68 to improve to 16 under and extend a streak of shooting par or better in all 19 rounds he’s played in the 2019-20 season. El Camaleon is a course he’s always enjoyed and he is bidding to make his own slice of tournament history. No player in the 12-year run of the tournament has won it twice. But to do so, he’ll have to catch and pass Taylor and Todd, his fellow Georgia Bulldog alum, over the final four holes. Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 on Monday morning.
“I feel great about my game,” Todd told Golf Channel. “I feel real happy to have a chance to win this tournament coming off a win in Bermuda and I’m excited to tee it up tomorrow and see if we can get another W.”