Bogey-free rounds move three to top of Estrella del Mar Open leaderboard
March 07, 2020
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- March 07, 2020
- Rowin Caron of the Netherlands is entering his second full season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Mazatlán, Mexico—The leaders at the Estrella del Mar Open proved that if they wanted to have the lead at the end of the day, they couldn’t make any bogeys. Brazil’s Alex Rocha, Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti and the Netherlands’ Rowin Caron were all bogey-free Saturday at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s season-opening event, and they take a share of the lead into the final round at Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach. At 19-under, they are one shot ahead of a quintet of players, including 36-hole leader Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico. Another three players are only two shots back setting up what should be a wild Sunday at the course set along the Pacific Ocean.
“Everybody is playing good, and it’s an accessible course. I’m very happy to have this opportunity and be able to show what I can do,” Tosti said of his third-round 63 after opening with a 62 Thursday and a 72 in the second round. The Argentina native vaulted to a share of the lead with a remarkable-looking scorecard that consisted of three birdies, three eagles and 12 pars.Tosti during Saturday's third round at the Robert Trent Jones II designed Estrella del Mar Golf Course. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
“Amazing. I don’t have words to describe today’s round,” the former University of Florida golfer said. “It’s pretty cool to shoot 9-under that way.” Tosti culminated his round by chipping in from 30 yards for eagle on the par-4 18th. He was at once smiling and shaking his head at the scorecard he held in his hand.
Rocha climbed to a share of the lead, thanks to four consecutive birdies to finish his day. His first three in the streak were a 15-footer at the par-3 15th, a two-putt birdie at the par-5 16th and a shortish putt from behind the hole on the par-3 17th.
“It was a super easy read. For some reason I saw it really clearly, just inside right and it had good pace. It went in the middle of the hole again,” he said of his second-to-last birdie of his day.
Rocha had an unfortunate bounce on his approach shot into No. 18, the ball landing and going directly right. “I didn’t understand that,” he added of the bounce that put him 12 feet from the cup, a fourth consecutive birdie in the balance. Prior to his putt, Rocha watched partner Eric Steger’s putt on the same line not break as much as Rocha thought it would. The Brazilian changed his read and drained the putt. “Eric helped me there,” he explained.Alex Rocha during Saturday's third round at Estrella del Mar. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Caron has played his last 37 holes without a bogey, his last bogey coming on No. 17 in the first round.
“I played really solid and made lots of good putts. I was hitting it in the right spots,” said Caron, who parred in after getting to 19-under through 13 holes.
Besides Ortiz, the others a stroke behind the leaders are Americans Ryan McCormick, Matt Gilchrest, Mitchell Meissner and Chris Wiatr.
The final round begins Sunday at 7:40 a.m., with Alejandro Tosti and Alex Rocha making up the last tee time, at 12:20 p.m.
Did you know Cristobal del Solar and Rowin Caron were teammates at Florida State University in Tallahassee? Chile’s Del Solar and Caron, from the Netherlands, were teammates for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
Alejandro Tosti’s first eagle came early in his day, at No. 2. After a 240-yard approach to the pin with a 3-iron, the ball settling in the middle of the green, Tosti made a 25-foot putt. At No. 16, his approach from the rough from 210 yards landed 14 feet from the hole, good for another eagle. Tosti his his drive on the par-4 30 yards short of the green. “I saw the pin, and I knew where I had to land [the ball]. I landed it perfectly, and as the ball was going toward the hole, I knew it was going in six feet before it went in,” he said.
The last PGA TOUR Latinoamérica player to record three eagles in one round was Toni Hakula, all of his eagles coming in succession at the 2019 Abierto de Chile (Nos. 18, 1 and 2).
Cristobal del Solar turned in the second 63 this week with his 9-under performance Saturday, and Alejandro Tosti added the third of the week later Saturday with his three-birdie, three-eagle performance. Guatemala’s José Toledo had the first 63, in the opening round.
The pairing of Cristobal del Solar and Juan José Guerra combined for a 17-under morning. Del Solar had seven birdies and an eagle, at No. 16, while Guerra had 10 birdies and a double bogey. His double came at No. 7. He followed that mishap with two consecutive birdies to close his front nine. Del Solar is tied for ninth, two strokes behind, while Guerra is three back and tied for 12th.
Josh Radcliff is making the most of what is only his second PGA TOUR Latinoamérica start. Radcliff, the former University of Texas-Arlington player, made his Tour debut in 2018, at the Guatemala Stella Artois Open (missed the cut). He earned his status this season with his tie for seventh at the Dev Series Final in December 2019 in Lima, Peru. He is tied for ninth.
Ryan McCormick had two late stumbles on each of his nines. He made a bogey on No. 8 and then bogeyed the par-5 16th hole after getting to 19 under following three consecutive birdies, starting at No. 13. McCormick attended St. Johns University in New York after growing up in West Long Branch, N.J. McCormick had a stellar amateur career in the metropolitan New York area, winning the 2012 New Jersey Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club and earning New Jersey State Golf Association Player of the Year honors. He also won the Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur and was the low amateur at the Metropolitan Open. He also won three tournaments at St. Johns and was the Big East Conference Golfer of the Year his senior year.
The four Qualifying Tournament medalists were all in the field this week, with Alvaro Ortiz (Buenos Aires qualifier) and France’s Jeremy Gandon (Central Florida qualifier) making the cut. Ortiz is tied for fourth, at 18-under, a stroke behind the leaders, while Gandon’s rounds of 66-67-69 put him in a tie for 23rd with 18 holes to play. He's at 14-under.
There were 25 players from Mexico in the field when the week started. Five made the cut. They are Alvaro Ortiz (tied for fourth), Raul Pereda (tied for ninth), Gonzalo Rubio (tied for 23rd) and Jose Narro (tied for 33rd).
“I only made three birdies, but, obviously, the eagles count double.” –Alejandro Tosti noting his three-eagle, 12-par showing
“I don’t know if I’ve had two eagles before. I think I have, but three is definitely a record for me.” –Alejandro Tosti on whether he had ever had three eagles in one round
“On the back nine, I made just a little bit of an adjustment. I started hitting more three-quarter (approach) shots instead of full shots, especially into the crosswind. That lowered the ball flight and allowed me to get the spin and the control, as well, and I started hitting it closer.” –Alex Rocha
“The minute I started hitting it closer, I started making putts. That’s really all it was. I’ve been putting great.” –Alex Rocha
“On a course like this, I knew the opportunities were there. It was just a matter of not getting impatient, which I didn’t do. I did finish with four birdies in a row, which is fortunate. But I played pretty solid all day long.” –Alex Rocha
“It’s there. It’s doable. Maybe another 7-, 8-under will have a good chance. We’ll see.” –Alex Rocha on his final-round opportunity
“I couldn’t ask for anything better. I played really good [Thursday] and really solid today. I wasn’t hitting it as good, but I finished with three birdies.” –Rowin Caron
“I was solid. I didn’t do many things wrong. I didn’t miss many greens and gave myself good chances all day.” –Rowin Caron
“The highlight was probably on 13. I hit the flag with the iron, and the ball went to six feet and I made the birdie. I was hitting it really well, controlling the ball flight and hitting it to the right spots.” –Rowin Caron
Third-Round Weather Report
Sunny and hot. High of 85. Wind WSW at 4-6 mph.