With a suspension of play looming due to darkness, several players rushed to finish their final rounds (the horn eventually blew at 6:11 p.m. ET). In the Johnson-Hubbard-Ortiz group, Johnson went to the 18th tee while his playing partners were still finishing on the 17th. According to PGA Tour rules, a group is allowed to complete a hole if at least one player in the group has teed off before a horn blows to signal the end of play due to darkness. Johnson’s ball in the air meant they wouldn’t be coming back on Monday. And while that strategy worked for Johnson and Hubbard, it wasn’t right for Ortiz. He made the rare decision to wait and play the hole on Monday despite his playing partners finishing.
The choice Ortiz made makes sense, too. This 18th is no joke. The brutal par-4 is the hardest hole on the course and surrendered just two birdies all of Sunday. Johnson bogeyed it to shoot 69 and is 11 back of the co-leaders, and Hubbard made double bogey to shoot 74 and is 18 back. Ortiz, on the other hand, is 19 under and just one behind leaders Vaughn Taylor and Brendon Todd.
“The whole plan was to get in contention the last nine holes, and I’m in contention with one hole to play,” Ortiz said afterward. “I think I have a really good chance for tomorrow.”
There’s even more on the line for Ortiz, too. A native of Mexico, he’ll have a home crowd behind him. Can he grab his first-ever PGA Tour victory in his 96th start? He decided to wait until Monday. We will too.
“Winning everywhere is special,” he said, “and winning a tournament in front of my family would be a dream come true.”