LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — Alvaro Ortiz’s pre-tournament journey troubles didn’t damage him within the opening spherical of the Latin America Newbie Championship.

They might have even helped him.

The 23-year-old from Mexico opened with a 6-under 66 Thursday on the Enamel of the Canine course at Casa de Campo. Going out within the morning wave, Ortiz made six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle to take a three-shot lead over 5 gamers — Puerto Rico’s Max Alvario, Peru’s Luis Fernando Barco, Chile’s Augustin Errazuris, the Dominican Republic’s Juan Cayro Delgado and Mexico’s Alejandro Madariaga — by means of 18 holes on the LAAC. He then was capable of sit inside and revel in his afternoon whereas the second wave performed its method by means of intermittent and at occasions heavy rains.

“It was a flawless spherical,” he mentioned. “I don’t assume I did something dangerous in the present day. I’m simply proud of the best way I began.”


A day prior, he was completely satisfied simply to be right here, after two days of logistical miscues and three (actually 4) missed flights. He arrived right here at Casa de Campo at 9 p.m. native time Tuesday, performed a single apply spherical Wednesday, and took the outright lead Thursday.

“I feel every part occurs for a motive, and I feel it was higher for me to not be right here Tuesday,” he mentioned. “It was good for me to only concentrate on myself and keep in my course of. I didn’t get to hang around with lots of people, however I feel that helped me loads.

“You already know, generally you may lose observe of your self with being round your folks … possibly staying up late and going out to the sport room or stuff like that. I feel it was good for me to focus and preserve doing what I used to be doing the final couple of months.”

Ortiz lastly arrives for his final likelihood to win the Latin America Newbie

Since graduating from the College of Arkansas final yr, Ortiz has spent the majority of his time in Dallas, working together with his coach Justin Poynter and training together with his brother Carlos, the three-time Internet.com winner. Competitors with Carlos and a wholesome quantity of trash speaking between the 2 of them have saved Alvaro’s recreation sharp as he’s waited for his time to show professional.

Ortiz needed to make the leap final summer time by way of PGA Tour Canada, however he opted as an alternative to play the British Newbie in Scotland and to signify Mexico as a part of the Worldwide crew on the Palmer Cup in France. He then took a shot on the professional ranks, advancing by means of the primary stage of Internet.com Tour Q-Faculty in September however failing to get out of the second stage in November. 

That every one led him again to the LAAC, the place he’s completed third or higher thrice with two runner-ups. Thursday marks the fifth time he is held the end-of-day lead at this occasion.

“You already know, there was a bit little bit of an incentive to play this match,” he mentioned. “I needed to provide it another shot, and I feel it’s figuring out.”

There are two potential plans for Ortiz after this week. Plan A is to win, to lastly earn that Augusta invite that has eluded him and to retain his newbie standing by means of the Masters, simply as Joaquin Niemann did final yr. Plan B would see him journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to play in a PGA Tour Latinoamerica Qualifying Match on the Olympic Golf Course from January 29-February 1.

“However, hopefully,” he mentioned Thursday, on his method out of the media room, “I don’t have to try this.”

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