In Mexican lands, Latinos put their stamp after the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by Unifin. The Chilean Joaquín Niemann and the Argentine Emiliano Grillo tied for second place, after starting with rounds of 66 shots (-5). Meanwhile the Mexican Carlos Ortiz ties for fifth place with 67 strokes (-4).
The leader is the Scotsman Russell Knox who started by signing a card of 65 hits (6-under par), which included five birdies on six holes (13-18).
The Chilean, inspired by his campaign to raise funds for his cousin Rafita, who suffers from a serious illness, showed a great level and on a morning with very windy conditions he scored four birdies, an eagle and only one bogey.
“It was difficult, I had to adjust a bit at the beginning as there was a lot of wind, but I’m happy with how I played. I think I was able to save myself in the last holes of my first nine holes and that gave me confidence. I’m playing the putter well and that allowed me to take advantage of the chances I had, ”said Niemann, who has one top-10 and three top-25s so far in the 2020/2021 season.
“It is a great motivation to play on behalf of Rafita and the organization has given me a great hand in telling his story. This week I will be donating all my prize for his cause, ”said the Chilean who seeks to add to the purchase of an expensive medicine that his cousin, who is only one month old, needs to continue living.
For his part, the Argentine who has a great record in Mayakoba, with two top-10s and one top-15, finished in a great way with four consecutive birdies, from 4 to 8 (he started at 10). “I was playing well and made a couple of bogeys from the middle of the fairway, on 2 and 4 that slowed me down a bit, but I felt that my game was and I continued in the same way and so I was able to make a few putts and accommodate the round, ”said Grillo.
“The field is very soft and the ball does not run on the fairway, there was a lot of wind and there are holes that have out of bounds and penalty areas on both sides so you have to be precise from the tee to have opportunities. Luckily, the putter is improving and going in the right direction, ”analyzed Grillo.
Meanwhile, Mexican Carlos Ortiz closed with a bogey in his final hole, but that does not prevent him from waiting for a second title this season, after having consecrated himself at the Vivint Houston Open, three weeks ago.
Ortiz recovered quickly from the bogey on hole 2, with birdies on 3 and 4 and an eagle on hole 5. His hits at 11 and 13 left him at the top of the board until the bogey arrived at 18, after failing your departure.
“When I made a putt of more than twenty meters for eagle on the 5th hole I knew it was going to be a good day. I was always in control of my game. All day I tried to hit fairways and greens and it paid off, ”said who once again gave Mexico a title on the PGA TOUR after more than 40 years.
“I love playing at home, it feels wonderful, even if there is no public, you feel the good energy and encouragement from the family and volunteers,” concluded Ortiz, who is ranked 9th in the FedEx Cup this season.
This week there are thirteen Latinos playing on the El Camaleón field, designed by Greg Norman. In addition to Niemann, Grillo and Ortiz, two other Latino players played under par on the court. Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas ranks 20th, after 69 (-2), while Colombian Camilo Villegas scored 70 (-1) to reach 36th.
PGA Tour Press.