Ortiz fires final-round 65 to win by five in Argentina
As the tournament medalist, the 24-year old from Mexico secures exempt status for the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season
January 31, 2020
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- January 31, 2020
- Alvaro Ortiz is the second Mexican player to win a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament. The only previous medalist from his country was Rodolfo Cazaubón, who won the South American Qualifier in 2014. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—With an impressive five-stroke victory at the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament Argentina, Alvaro Ortiz left to doubt of his strength as a player to watch this upcoming season. The 24-year old from Guadalajara, Mexico, fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to claim medalist honors at 16-under 272. As the top finisher at Cañuelas Golf Club, the University of Arkansas alum secured exempt status for the entire 2020 season that will start 34 days from today in his home country.
“It was a spectacular round from start to finish,” said Ortiz of his flawless score that featured an eagle and five birdies. “I’ve been playing some good golf for the last couple of months, and I believe this is good proof of that. I’m happy to finally get a win and excited about what this year might bring.”
Ortiz started the day with birdies on Nos. 5 and 8 to make the turn at 2-under, and he reached the tee on No. 12 holding a two-shot lead over Matías Lezcano, the Argentine who shared with Ortiz the 54-hole lead. The 447-yard par-4 12th proved decisive, with Ortiz making birdie and Lezcano a bogey, that opened a four-stroke gap. Although Lezcano birdied the next two, Ortiz made an eagle on 14 to keep the lead at four.
“I hit a great drive there, a bomb right in the middle of the fairway, and then I hit a 7-iron to about 12 to 15 feet and made the eagle putt,” Ortiz said, noting the birdie putts he rolled in on Nos. 16 and 18 to secure the title. “I really didn’t make any mistakes. Actually, I had one, but I made a great approach and then a nice up and down to keep the card clean.”
Ortiz is expected to be a force on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He closed a superb amateur career with a win at the 2019 Latin America Amateur Championship to earn an invite to the 2019 Masters Tournament. He went on to tie for 36th in his major championship debut. Soon after, he began his career as a professional, receiving sponsor exemptions to a few PGA TOUR events, including the Mayakoba Golf Classic (tie for 48th), an event where he stayed inside the top 10 for the first three rounds last November.
As for his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica goals, he said, “I hope to get the Korn Ferry Tour card for the 2021 season and from there keep going and make it to the PGA TOUR. I’m excited about playing on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; I have several friends who are already Tour members, and I’m excited about what the Tour will bring this year.”
Behind Ortiz, players finishing between the second and 12th spots earned exempt status for the first half of the season. They were led by Jaime López Rivarola of Argentina, who carded a 68, and Juan José Guerra of the Dominican Republic, who posted a 69, to share runner-up honors, at 11-under.
With six players tying for 12th, at 5-under, officials conducted a playoff for the final berth, awarding exempt status for the first half. Aaron Terrazas of Mexico emerged as the winner of the extra session that lasted five holes. The five players on the losing end of that playoff led a group of 23 players who will have conditional status for the first half of 2020.
In all, 35 players walked away as 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica members.
Did you know that Alvaro Ortiz’s brother Carlos, who is four years older, is currently playing his fourth season as a PGA TOUR member? Carlos first made it to the TOUR as the 2014 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year. He has made 99 career starts on the PGA TOUR and currently holds the 21st spot in the FedExCup standings.
There were 58 players from the original 59 entered who finished all 72 holes this week. Below is a breakdown of the various rewards players earned through their performances this week:
Who earned status?
Exempt for the entire 2020 season
2nd through 12th (no ties)
Jaime López Rivarola
Juan José Guerra
Exempt for the first half of the 2020 season
13th through 35th (plus ties)
Luis Fernando Barco
Axell Gustavo Balestre
Conditionally exempt for the first half of the 2020 season
Alvaro Ortiz is only the second Mexican player to claim medalist honors at a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament. Rodolfo Cazaubón of Tampico, Tamaulipas, was the only previous medalist from his country with a win—at the 2014 South American Qualifier played at the Country Club La Planicie in Lima, Peru.
Alvaro Ortiz has made four career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, three of those as an amateur. He made his first start as a 17-year old amateur, missing the cut at the Abierto Mexicano at the Club de Golf Mexico. He made his last and only Tour start as a professional, missing the cut at the same event last year in Tijuana.
Going bogey-free, Alvaro Ortiz and Rafael Echenique shot 7-under 65s to share the lowest rounds of the final day. While Ortiz went on to collect medalist honors, Echenique managed to break inside the top 10 on a day he started tied for 26th.
After tying for 12th, at 5-under, Aaron Terrazas of Mexico defeated Claudio Correa, José Montano, Facundo Villanueva, Horacio León and Juan Cerda in a playoff for the last spot that granted exempt status for the first half of the season. Terrazas and Cerda were the last two standing after four playoff holes, but Terrazas made eagle on the next hole, No. 18, to defeat Cerda.
The player who finished solo 35th, the last position for conditional status, was Sebastián López of Colombia. Tying for 36th and earning no status, a shot outside the cutline, were José Pablo Rolz of Guatemala, Pedro Nagayama of Brazil, Juan Moncayo of Ecuador and Mario Carmona of Mexico.
The 35 players who earned status at this event represent 10 Latin American countries, with 15 of them coming from Argentina. Led by tournament medalist Alvaro Ortiz, there were six players from Mexico who made it through. The remaining countries represented are Chile (four players), Brazil (three), Peru (two), Bolivia (one), Colombia (one), Costa Rica (one), the Dominican Republic (one) and Venezuela (one).
“I stayed calm through the day. Being on top, way ahead of the cut line on the race for a good card, gives you calm at Q-School.”—Alvaro Ortiz
“(It was an) electric round! I had two double bogeys early that were kind of weird, but I kept going. I remember that at my first Q-School (2018), I was three shots outside the line after making bogeys on my first three holes, but I finished 3-under making a lot of birdies, so I kept trusting and fighting and things finally worked out.”—Jaime López Rivarola
“Entering the week I didn’t know what to expect, but luckily I had a very solid round that gave me the opportunity to have a less-stressful finish, just focusing on playing and enjoying the game.”—Juan José Guerra
Fourth-Round Weather Report
Clear and sunny. High of 85. Wind NNE at 5-10 mph.