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Ortiz in contention as darkness halts final round in Mexico

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(Reuters) – Four players, including home favourite Carlos Ortiz, were bunched within one shot of the lead at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico on Sunday when play was suspended due to darkness late in the final round.

Americans Brendon Todd and Vaughn Taylor were locked at 20 under par with four holes left, while compatriot Harris English and Mexico’s Ortiz were one stroke behind.

English also had four holes remaining, while Ortiz had only one to play at the Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen.

Ortiz sank a pressure-packed seven-footer in fading light to save par at the 17th and had the option of playing the final hole, but opted to call it a day rather than complete the round in semi-darkness.

“Even from the last shot it was hard to see,” he said, explaining his decision. “The putts were hard to even read. I still have a chance so I’m going to wait until early in the morning.”

But Ortiz had good reason to question the etiquette of playing companion Zach Johnson, who rushed to the 18th tee and hit his drive to ensure he could finish, even before Ortiz had putted out at the 17th.

Johnson ended up joining the group ahead and making a foursome, and Ortiz could well have felt rushed, though he did not complain publicly at least.

He appeared an unlikely candidate to be in contention after starting the final round with a double-bogey, before roaring back with seven birdies in front of an enthusiastic gallery.

The 28-year-old from Gaudalajara is having a break-out season, with two fourth-place finishes already in the new PGA Tour season which started in September.

Todd is also on fire. He was ranked 525th in the world before winning the Bermuda Open two weeks ago, and is now in the hunt to go back-to-back.

“I feel great about my game,” he said. “Really happy to have a chance to win this tournament coming off a win in Bermuda.”

Two players had holes-in-one within five minutes of each other, defending champion Matt Kuchar at the eighth and Brian Gay at the 10th.

The Monday finish is a result of Thursday’s rainout.

The final round will resume at 7.30 a.m. local time (1230 GMT).

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Richard Pullin)

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