Mexico to host season-ending Bupa Tour Championship
Challenging PGA Riviera Maya again welcomes Tour’s best
TULUM, Mexico—The race for the Totalplay Cup, the season-long competition that provides the leading PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players access to the Korn Ferry Tour, comes to an end this week at the Bupa Tour Championship. Providing a U.S. $200,000 payout, the largest in the 10 years of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s existence, and enhanced Totalplay Cup points, with 600 points going to the winner, the final tournament of the 2021-22 season will have a lot at stake. The no-cut, 72-hole event begins Thursday at challenging PGA Riviera Maya.
Only seven players in the limited 57-man field can mathematically win the Totalplay Cup. Ranked first through seventh, respectively, are American Mitchell Meissner, Chile’s Cristóbal Del Solar, Argentina’s Jorge Fernández Valdés, American Kevin Velo, Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti and Alan Wagner and Guatemala’s José Toledo.
Having finished no worse than a tie for 19th in the first 11 events of the season, Meissner enters the final week holding a 141-point Totalplay Cup lead. He clearly possesses the upper hand among the seven who are trying to win the Totalplay Cup, the Player of the Year title, a bonus of U.S. $20,000 and, perhaps, most importantly the ability to play in every open 2023 Korn Ferry Tour tournament.
“The goal this week is to win. If I win no one can catch me, so maybe this will be the week that I get it done,” said Meissner, the first player ever to reach the final event of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season atop the standings despite going winless in the regular season. This season, the consistent Meissner has the most top-10s (nine), most birdies (201) and the lowest scoring average (68.45) through 11 events.
“I’m not necessarily looking at it as an event that’s bigger than any of the other events we have played this year, and hopefully that will help me,” added the 25-year-old from San Antonio, Texas. “I’m going into the week thinking that it’s been a great year. I have achieved the goals that I wanted to achieve, locking up a top-five spot. Everything after this is kind of gravy. If I finish No. 1, then awesome, I’ll be pumped and be able to set my schedule for next year. If Cristobal (Del Solar) wins or something else happens, then it would still be a great year, and I will have good thoughts about it.”
As the second–most consistent player on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica this season, having recorded seven top-10s in his last nine starts—with a victory at the Volvo Golf Championship on June 5 outside Bogota, Colombia—Del Solar is Meissner’s main challenger.
“The year is not done yet, and my goal is to be No. 1, and hopefully that happens. I’m just going to control what I can and do the best I can,” said Del Solar. “I’m obviously in a good position, but I’m not really going to try to force anything.”
Both Meissner and Del Solar are part of a group of 34 players who experienced PGA Riviera Maya in 2021 when the Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course welcomed the season-ending event for the first time.
Playing at 7,272 yards, the tight, par-72 that nestles through the Mayan jungle and features several natural lakes and cenotes, proved to be a tough test for the 132 players a year ago. As a full-field tournament, players turned in a scoring average of 75.78, pushing toward an average of four strokes over par per person, PGA Riviera Maya was by far the Tour’s toughest course last season. It provided the least number of birdies and the most double bogeys (or worse) by a significant margin.
“It’s a beast of a course,” said Meissner, who tied for 19th, at 5-over, last July. “Looking at the weather (forecast) it looks like it might be a little windy, a little rainy, so it’s nice to have seen the course. It’s a course where you have to hit it straight, a lot of 3-woods and 2-irons off the tee box.”
At 14-over to tie for 49th, Del Solar had a tougher time last year. “This course is brutal,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s probably the hardest course we play the whole year. It’s very narrow, and that’s what makes it so difficult. I think the key for this course is just to keep the ball in the fairway, and that’s where we are going to keep our focus this week. I’ll do the best I can while trying to hit as many fairways as possible.”
With the Mexican Tour finishing its 2021-22 season last week in nearby Playa del Carmen, there are several Tour members who have been in the area for several days. Among them is Raúl Pereda, who, at No. 12 on the Totalplay Cup standings, is the leading Mexican player on Tour.
“I feel I’m carrying a good momentum into this week, and I know exactly what I’m running into and how I should play the course. PGA Riviera Maya is an unbelievable layout, and it rewards those who hit it straight off the tee. I have great memories from last year, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Hopefully, I will manage to play one shot at a time,” said the Veracruz native who shot even-par to tie for sixth in 2021.
The Bupa Tour Championship field is currently at 57 players. The Tour limited the field to those top-60 Totalplay Cup Points List earners through the Fortox Colombia Classic. Chandler Blanchet (ranked 26th), Clodomiro Carranza (33rd) and John Hill (42nd) qualified for this event but will not be playing. There are no alternates or replacements allowed.
Totalplay Cup Points List
(Through 11 of 12 official events)
|Points List Pos.||Player||Total Points||Points Behind|
|1||Mitchell Meissner (U.S.)||1,492||—|
|2||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)||1,351||141|
|3||Jorge Fernández Valdés (Argentina)||1,204||288|
|4||Kevin Velo (U.S.)||1,122||370|
|5||Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)||957||535|
|6||Alan Wagner (Argentina)||913||579|
|7||José Toledo (Guatemala)||893||599|
|8||Tommy Cocha (Argentina)||859||633|
|9||Jeremy Gandon (France)||646||846|
|10||Manav Shah (U.S.)||620||872|
The top-10 table shows number of points awarded at the season-ending Bupa Tour Championship in comparison to the regular season events.
Bupa Tour Championship Points Distribution
|Position||Regular Season Events||Bupa Tour Championship|
Below is a breakdown of the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour status available for top 2021-22 Totalplay Cup finishers.
|Position||2023 Korn Ferry Tour Status|
|No. 1||Eligible for every open tournament|
|Nos. 2-5||Conditional status|
|Nos. 2-10||Conditional status and exempt into final stage of Q-School|
|Nos. 11-25||Exempt into second stage of Q-School|
The Tour recently announced an enhancement to the 2021-22 Totalplay Cup, adding a U.S. $100,000 bonus pool for the top-10 finishers in the standings following the 2022 Bupa Tour Championship. The winner of the Totalplay Cup will receive $20,000 in addition to his 2023 Korn Ferry Tour membership. The following is the bonus pool breakdown:
Totalplay Cup Bonus Breakdown
|Totalplay Cup Position||Bonus Amount|
Provided by Bupa, a financial services, insurance and healthcare company with headquarters in London, there will be an additional bonus of U.S. $5,000 to each of the two best-ranked Mexican players at the conclusion of the Totalplay Cup season. The following are the eight Mexican players who made the field, all of them still in contention for the bonuses:
Totalplay Cup Leading Mexicans
|Position||Player||Total Points||Points Behind|
|19||José de Jesús Rodríguez||500||101|
Tournament Fast Facts
Official Name: Bupa Tour Championship
Dates: June 23-26, 2022
Host venue: PGA Riviera Maya, Par-72 (36-36) 7,272 yards
Field: 57 players from 15 countries
Countries and territories represented in the field: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, United States and Venezuela
Purse: U.S. $200,000 – Winner’s share U.S. $36,000
Totalplay Cup points: Awarded to all the players, with600 going to the winner
Cut: This is a no-cut 72-hole event
2021 Champion: Patrick Newcomb (not playing)