Season resumes with a six-way tie for the lead in Argentina
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Written by Greg Villalobos @PGATOURLA
TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina—U.S. players Chris Crawford (cover photo), David Pastore, Thomas Lilly, Conner Godsey and Tom Nettles join Argentina’s Andrés Gallegos in a six-way tie for the lead following opening rounds of 6-under 66 at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational, the fourth of 12 events on the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule. Action began Thursday at Termas de Rio Hondo Golf Club in northern Argentina, with a tight leaderboard.
“I felt like I was ready to get going again and I felt pretty solid about where things are at,” said Crawford, whose tie for fourth in his last PGA TOUR Latinoamérica start, at the Chile Open, in December seems like ages ago.
A Philadelphia native who now resides in Sarasota, Florida, Crawford was the only one among the co-leaders to go bogey-free Thursday. At 1-under through 7, the 29-year old who started off No. 1 at 8 a.m., had a solid final stretch. He recorded birdies on Nos. 8, 10, 11, 13 and 18 to set the pace early in the morning.
“I played really well all day, not a lot of stress, to be honest. I hit it really well. In some ways I probably could have gotten even a little more out of it, but I stayed patient and I’m pretty happy,” added Crawford, resuming the season ranked 13th in the Totalplay Cup standings.
Ten other players—David Laskin, Roland Massimino, Luis Fernando Barco, Diego Cordova, Max Sekulic, Myles Creighton, Matt Ryan, Jesús Montenegro, Peter Gasperini and Rafael Becker—posted rounds of 5-under 67 to trail the co-leaders by one.
With play suspended due to darkness at 7:30 p.m. local time, 33 players were unable to complete the opening round. Those players are led by Fred Meyer of the U.S. and Ignacio Marino of Argentina, who currently stand at 6-under. Meyer has three holes left to play, while Marino has six to go.
Did you know the rewards awaiting the leading Totalplay Cup players at the conclusion of the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season? Following the season-ending PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Championship (June 29-July 2), the top-5 finishers will secure 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status as well as exemptions into the final stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Q-School. Here are the season-ending rewards for the top Totalplay Cup performers:
|2022-23 Final Totalplay Cup Position||Reward|
|No. 1||Will receive exempt status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour|
|Nos. 2-5||Will receive conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry|
|Nos. 1-5||Exempt into Final Stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
|Nos. 6-25||Exempt into the second stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
As originally scheduled, the second round will begin at 7:50 a.m. Friday. The players who were unable to finish Thursday must be in position to resume the opening round at 8 a.m.
The six players tied for the lead are 27 or older, with Argentina’s Andrés Gallegos both the youngest and the one with the most PGA TOUR Latinoamérica experience. This is how the leaders compare as Tour members:
|Player||Age||Career Starts||Top 10s||Thursday’s Round|
|Chris Crawford (U.S.)||29||19||1||6 birdies (bogey-free)|
|David Pastore (U.S.)||31||19||1||7 birdies, 1 bogey|
|Thomas Lilly (U.S.)||28||4||0||2 eagles, 3 birdies, 1 bogey|
|Conner Godsey (U.S.)||30||19||6 (1 win)||8 birdies, 2 bogeys|
|Tom Nettles (U.S.)||28||9||0||1 eagle, 6 birdies, 2 bogeys|
|Andrés Gallegos (Argentina)||27||54||13 (1 win)||7 birdies, 1 bogey|
The wire-to-wire winner of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament played last November at Mission Inn Resort, Austin Squires, finished birdie-par-birdie-birdie to card a 4-under 68 in his first start of the season, leaving him two strokes behind the leaders. Although he secured full-exempt status, the 25-year-old had to postpone his 2022-23 season debut because of his wedding on December 3—the Saturday of the season-opening Visa Argentine Open—and the honeymoon that followed in Hawaii with his wife, Emily. “It was amazing, and it’s definitely fun to be married now,” said the former University of Cincinnati golfer who won his Q-School by five shots.
Totalplay Cup No. 2 Linus Lilliedahl, who also entered the week as the Zurich Argentina Swing leader, carded a 3-under 69 Thursday afternoon to tie for the 29th spot. The Swede had birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 16 before making his only bogey of the day, on 17.
There are 38 Argentines playing this week, with Andrés Gallegos currently the best among them, in a tie for the lead. Here are the 17 Argentines who are under-par through the opening round.
|T1||Andrés Gallegos||66 (-6)|
|T1||Ignacio Marino||6-under through 12|
|T9||Jesús Montenegro||67 (-5)|
|T19||Tommy Cocha||68 (-4)|
|T19||Andrés Romero||68 (-4)|
|T19||Clodomiro Carranza||68 (-4)|
|T19||Maxi Godoy||4-under through 12|
|T29||Matías Simaski||69 (-3)|
|T29||Jaime López Rivarola||69 (-3)|
|T29||Franco Scorzato||69 (-3)|
|T29||Franco Romero||69 (-3)|
|T37||Aram Yenidjeian||70 (-2)|
|T37||Mauro Baez||70 (-2)|
|T37||Horacio Carbonetti Jr.||2-under through 15|
|T37||Oreste Focaccia||2-under through 12|
|T57||Marcos Montenegro||71 (-1)|
|T57||Rafael Echenique||71 (-1)|
Although winning the Totalplay Cup is the ultimate goal, specifically over the next two weeks, Tour players will be focused on winning the Zurich Argentina Swing and the U.S. $10,000 bonus provided to the player accumulating the most points in the four PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events in Argentina. Besides the cash prize, Zurich will keep donating to charity for every birdie made on the 18th hole at each of these events. This season, the money raised through this charitable component is going to Fundación Integrar, a foundation that provides educational scholarships.
First-Round Weather: Sunny and clear, with a high of 93.Wind WNW at 6-11 mph. Officials suspended play from 2:32 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. due to lightning in the area. They called play for the day at 7:30 p.m., due to darkness.