Pastore fires bogey-free 65, claims halfway lead in Argentina
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Written by Greg Villalobos @PGATOURLA
TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina—Among eight players who carded 66s to share the lead at the conclusion of the first round earlier today, David Pastore moved away from the pack by firing a bogey-free 7-under 65 to claim the outright lead through 36 holes of play at the 2023 Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational. The 31-year old from Greenwich, Connecticut, birdied four of his last five holes Friday to move to 13-under 131. He leads by one over solo second Jake McCrory of Deer Park, Texas, who posted back-to-back 66s in his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut.
Trailing the leader by three after consecutive 67s, Diego Cordova of Mexico, Myles Creighton of Canada and Jesús Montenegro of Argentina moved into a tie for third alongside Conner Godsey of Rogersville, Alabama, who followed an opening 66 with a 68.
Marcos Montenegro of Argentina recorded eight birdies on his way to a tournament-low 8-under 64. The bogey-free round allowed him to charge into a five-way tie for seventh, where he is joined by his countryman Maxi Godoy and U.S. players Samuel Anderson, Roland Massimino, and Chris Crawford at 9-under 135.
“It was really solid golf,” said Pastore of his second round at Termas de Rio Hondo Golf Club, where he finished solo fourth a year ago. “I played the easy holes well and I played conservatively on the tougher holes. I would say it was really my putter. I made probably 4 to 5 four-footers for par and those putts are big to keep the round going.”
Starting in the tougher back-nine this afternoon, Pastore was happy to make the turn at 2-under for the day, with birdies on 13 and 16. “That’s kind of where I wanted to be. I knew that even if I was even-par (at the turn), there would be a lot of birdie chances on the back nine, so to be to 2-under was a good spot. Fortunately, I finished off the round well,” said the University of Virginia alum who birdied Nos. 2, 5, 6, 8, and 9 to surge ahead.
A seasoned player who has recorded several victories, including the PGA TOUR Canada’s 2016 Niagara Championship, Pastore is aware of the challenges ahead this weekend. “It’s hard to stay as aggressive once you are kind of in front, so that will be my goal, try to take the same mindset that I took into this first two rounds and not ease off,” added Pastore, who will be paired with McCrory and Cordova in a threesome scheduled to start the third round at 12:40 p.m. local time Saturday.
Did you know today’s 65 was a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career-low for David Pastore? In 68 career rounds across 20 starts in Latin America, his previous low was a 66, which he shot four times, including yesterday’s opening round.
Suspended due to darkness, the first round was completed earlier in the day with Fred Meyer and Jake McCrory shooting 66s to make it an eight-way tie for the lead. This is how the eight first-round co-leaders finished the second round:
|David Pastore (U.S.)||1||66-65—131 (-13)|
|Jake McCrory (U.S.)||2||66-66—132 (-12)|
|Conner Godsey (U.S.)||T3||66-68—134 (-10)|
|Chris Crawford (U.S.)||T7||66-69—135 (-9)|
|Thomas Lilly (U.S.)||T12||66-70—136 (-8)|
|Fred Meyer (U.S.)||T26||66-72—138 (-6)|
|Andrés Gallegos (Argentina)||T49||66-74—140 (-4)|
|Tom Nettles (U.S.)||CUT||66-76—142 (-2)|
The cut came at 4-under 140, with 59 players making it to the weekend. This is the lowest cut in three editions of this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event, where the cut came at 3-under last year and at 2-under in 2019.
Last year David Pastore finished solo fourth at this event for his best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career finish. He recorded rounds of 69-69-68-66 to finish at 16-under 272, two shots behind tournament winner Kevin Velo.
Including this week’s 66-65 start, David Pastore is now 29-under in six rounds at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Termas de Rio Hondo Golf Club. “There are five par-5s here, so it’s even more important than other weeks. There are a lot of chances for birdies and eagles, with most of (the par-5s) reachable,” said the man who lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.
At 1-over through eight holes in the opening round Thursday, Jake McCrory made an eagle on No. 18, his ninth hole of the day, to turn things around in his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut. He has shot 13-under in his last 28 holes, recording two eagles, ten birdies, and only one bogey.
“It’s not like I played perfect golf the first two rounds, but I made a lot of birdies and two eagles. The eagle yesterday really jumpstarted my round,” said McCrory, a Sam Houston State University alum competing here because of his Korn Ferry Tour conditional status. The 27-year old finished in a tie for 126th at the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School last year.
There were 38 Argentines playing in this event, with 16 making the cut. The top player among them is Jesús Montenegro, in a four-way tie for third. Here are the locals who will be playing this weekend and how they’ve performed through 36 holes.
|T3||Jesús Montenegro||134 (-10)|
|T7||Marcos Montenegro||135 (-9)|
|T7||Maxi Godoy||135 (-9)|
|T12||Franco Scorzato||136 (-8)|
|T18||Horacio Carbonetti Jr.||137 (-7)|
|T18||Puma Domínguez||137 (-7)|
|T18||Tommy Cocha||137 (-7)|
|T18||Franco Romero||137 (-7)|
|T33||Jaime López Rivarola||139 (-5)|
|T49||Rafael Echenique||140 (-4)|
|T49||Leandro Marelli||140 (-4)|
|T49||Ignacio Marino||140 (-4)|
|T49||César Costilla||140 (-4)|
|T49||Juan Arozena||140 (-4)|
|T49||Andrés Romero||140 (-4)|
|T49||Andrés Gallegos||140 (-4)|
Chandler Blanchet had three birdies and a hole-in-one Friday for a bogey-free 5-under 67. Unfortunately, an opening 2-over 74 proved costly and he ended up missing the cut by one shot. His ace came at the par-3 No. 11, where he had 177 yards to the pin and hit a 7-iron into the wind. This was Blanchet’s eighth hole-in-one overall, but his first in a professional tournament. “A tough day yesterday, but I played well today, 5-under bogey-free. I’ll take that and get some momentum into next week,” said the 28-year old from Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
The Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational is the third of four PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events in Argentina. The player accumulating the most Totalplay Cup points in these tournaments will win the Zurich Argentina Swing and a bonus of U.S. $10,000. Besides the cash prize, Zurich is 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.
Second-Round Weather: Sunny and clear, with a high of 94.Wind E at 9-13 mph.