Tosti makes it look easy, takes early lead in Mazatlán
March 05, 2020
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- March 05, 2020
- Alejandro Tosti had ten birdies to match the Estrella del Mar course record this Thursday afternoon. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Mazatlán, Mexico—Alejandro Tosti sure knows how to spend his spring break. The senior education major at the University of Florida, eight classes short of graduation, came here to start the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season and made things look easy at the season-opening Estrella del Mar Open. The full-time student and full-time professional golfer shot a 10-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Guatemala’s José Toledo. Mexico’s Raúl Pereda and American Joey Lane are two strokes behind.
What made Tosti’s score remarkable was he was on the poorer end of the weather draw, with calmer conditions in the morning. By the time Tosti teed off in the afternoon, the wind swirling around the course that features the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, had intensified. It hardly seemed to matter.
“Amazing start for the season. I was really excited to start competing after having a good end to the season last year,” said Tosti who won his first professional title at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational in early November 2019. “Today was much better than I expected. I hit some solid shots, made a couple of good putts from inside 15 feet and it was a great round.”
Playing Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach’s back nine first, Tosti scattered four birdies and five pars on his opening nine holes. His hot streak began at No. 9, with a birdie there and five more in consecutive fashion. He then finished with a flourish, rolling in a six-foot birdie putt at the last.
“I didn’t have a great start; nothing amazing,” Tosti said. “I had three birdies up to the ninth hole, then I birdied the ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th—six birdies in a row.” He just as easily could have made eight in succession, missing two shortish putts—both in the 10-foot range on Nos. 15 and 16.View this post on Instagram
Alejandro Tosti 🇦🇷 comenzó la temporada a paso firme. Hizo 🔟🐤 para Ronda 1 de 10-bajo par 6️⃣2️⃣. Igualó el récord de campo de @estrelladelmarmexico y es líder absoluto por un golpe. What a start by Argentina’s @aletosti1 at the #EstrellaDelMarOpen. Starting off No. 10 he made 🔟🐤 for a course record tying 6️⃣2️⃣ and a one-shot lead.
Toledo’s bogey-free round came with his birdies spread out throughout the day. He had four birdies on his opening nine (the back nine) and five to finish his day and said he was anxious to begin the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. For good reason. The Guatemalan, who lives full-time in Houston, made nine birdies and nine pars in the first round.
“Of course, it’s to go back to the Korn Ferry (Tour),” Toledo said of his main goal for 2020. “I know I’ve done it before.” As a sub-goal, Toledo did mention the Summer Olympics in Japan as another objective this season. “I have eight or nine events to earn points. If I can win one or two, I might have a big chance. I’m looking forward to that, which would be a big thing for me and for Guatemala.”
Did you know Alejandro Tosti easily established a new 18-hole personal best with his 10-under 62 Thursday? His previous-best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica score was the final-round, 8-under 64 he shot at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational in November 2019.
Alejandro Tosti hit 17 of 18 greens Thursday.
José Toledo, with one career win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica (the 2017 Essential Costa Rica Classic), had a nice bounce-back season in 2019 playing PGA TOUR Latinoamérica after a disappointing 2018 campaign on the Korn Ferry Tour. A year ago the Guatemala native finished 23rd on the Order of Merit and has his sights on returning to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021.
The longest birdie streak a year ago belonged to Brazil’s Rafael Becker. He made seven in a row at the VISA Open de Argentina.
Joey Lane finished 10th on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit in 2019. He won the Dongguan Open for his first professional title.
A year ago, Joey Lane’s first as a professional, his low 18-hole score on PGA TOUR Series-China was a 62 he shot in the opening round of his win in Dongguan. Thursday, in his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut, he fired a 64.
José Toledo said the highlight of his round was not any of his birdies, but, instead, the par save he made at No. 15. After missing the green in regulation and facing a difficult chip shot, he left his shot only a foot away for the easy tap-in par.
Raúl Pereda’s round was notable in that he was only 2-under through 12 holes before making four consecutive birdies, a hole-in-one and a par to finish his round. The ace, the first of the 2020 season, came at the par-3 17th.
For a while, it looked like José Toledo would hold the outright lead until Alejandro Tosti’s heroics late in the day. The last time Toledo held an end-of-round lead came a year ago in Brazil when he opened with an 8-under 63 at the São Paulo Golf Club Championship. Toledo eventually tied for 44th.
Samuel Stevens was bogey-free in his first round of 2020. The Oklahoma State product made seven birdies Thursday. In his rookie season in 2019, Stevens finished 47th on the Order of Merit, with one top-10, a tie for fourth at the JHSF Aberto do Brasil.
Tommy Cocha, who won on this course in 2015 when it hosted a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event, opened with a 5-under 67, leaving him tied for 27th through 18 holes.
Of the 144 players in the field, 114 broke par in the opening round, with another eight at even-par.
The four Qualifying Tournament medalists all played well Thursday, led by Alvaro Ortiz (Buenos Aires qualifier), Jared Du Toit (who qualified at this course in January) and Jeremy Gandon (Central Florida qualifier). They all fired 6-under 66s and are tied for eighth. A.J. Crouch (South Florida qualifier) shot a 4-under 68 and is tied for 48th.
Raúl Pereda’s hole-in-one was his first as a professional. He used a 7-iron from 187 yards on No. 17. He lost track of the ball after it landed as it rolled behind a slope but then reappeared, where he was able to see it roll into the hole. Pereda’s other holes-in-one came during his amateur days. His most-recent ace before Thursday was during his junior year of college playing for Jacksonville University in Florida.
Raúl Pereda’s 6-under finish to his round included
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- A six-foot birdie putt at No. 13.
- A difficult 16-foot putt from the front edge of the green on No. 14, a putt that went in on the low side.
- A 12-foot, right-to-left birdie putt on No. 15.
- A successful up and down from the short side of the greenside bunker on the par-5 16th that resulted in a two-foot tap-in.
- His first hole-in-one as a professional, on No. 17.
Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-ACE 🔥 Así fue como @raulpdlh jugó entre el hoyo 13 y 17. El mexicano termina la R1 del #EstrelladelMarOpen con un buen 64. That’s how local player Raul Pereda played his 13th to 17th holes today. He finished the day at @estrelladelmarmexico shooting 64.
“My driver was amazing. I wanted to be on the left side of the fairway to have an into-the-wind shot instead of into a crosswind. I had a 70-yard shot, and my distance was really good. I thought I mis-hit it a little, but it turned out pretty good, and my putt was six feet.” –Alejandro Tosti on the last three shots of his first round
“I was thinking of having a good roll of the putt, and if it goes in it goes in. If not, it’s still a good roll. I was really, really wanting to make it, especially missing those two putts inside 10 feet on two of the previous three holes.” –Alejandro Tosti on his closing birdie putt
“Winning out a Tour like this helped break some mental barriers inside myself that sometimes leaves me asking myself many questions. It’s such a hard sport, especially when you’re not playing well.” –Alejandro Tosti
“But when you’re playing well, it’s a lot of fun. I can tell you.” –Alejandro Tosti
“I started the first few holes with a few birdies, and that gave me some momentum through the whole round.” – José Toledo
“I’m pretty excited to start with a day like this. I’m looking forward to the next three days.” – José Toledo
“For sure it was on 15. It was a really difficult chip shot, and I left it just a foot away. Then I finished with birdies on the last two holes.” – José Toledo on his best hole of the day
“I took it really easy. I was practicing in Houston, but it’s winter, and the [weather] was on and off. Then I went to Guatemala to visit with my family. My dad is struggling a little bit, so I’m trying to go to be with him the most I can.” – José Toledo
“I’ve just been getting ready and looking forward because I’ve been anxious to start the season.” – José Toledo
“I’m very happy with how today went. I think I was getting a little desperate to make putts.” – Raúl Pereda
“I’ve played here multiple times, and these greens are probably the trickiest I’ve played in a while with the grain and with everything breaking toward the sea.” – Raúl Pereda
“That gave me a good start and some confidence for the remainder of the round. I had a lot of opportunities on the front nine. I couldn’t make them even though I was rolling the ball very well.” – Raúl Pereda on his early birdies
“I knew if I could catch fire with the putter, it would be a good [round]. I hit 16 greens today, and I had a lot of chances.” – Raúl Pereda
“I remember talking to my psychologist (Wednesday). He told me I can’t force it. I’ve been thinking about that the entire day. I had a better acceptance today during my round, and I think that kept me very calm. I sometimes get stressed when I have six-footers that don’t go in.” – Raúl Pereda
Tournament Fast Fact
The three previous winners of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events in Mazatlán are Tyler McCumber (2014), Tommy Cocha (2015) and Martin Trainer (2016).
First-Round Weather Report
Mostly sunny and warm. High of 75. Wind variable in the morning. Picking up in the afternoon, W at 8-10 mph, with gusts to 13 mph.