Hitt, Creighton share 36-hole lead at El Rincón
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Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA
CAJICÁ, Colombia—Last week’s runner-up Austin Hitt of Longwood, Florida, and Myles Creighton of Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada, moved to 12-under 132 to share the halfway lead at the Inter Rapidísimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo. Hitt followed an opening 68 with a 64 Friday morning, while Creighton, in a trio of opening-round co-leaders, joined Hitt in the afternoon, firing a bogey-free 66 for the second consecutive day.
Two shots behind the co-leaders and tied for third at the 10th event of the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season are Agustín Errázuriz of Chile, George Toone of England, Fred Meyer of the U.S. and Andrés Gallegos of Argentina. Trailing by three at 9-under, France’s Jeremy Gandon, Sweden’s Linus Lilliedahl and Argentina’s Julián Etulain are tied for seventh.
Hitt’s run to the top of the leaderboard at El Rincón de Cajicá Golf Club started with a bogey on the first hole early in the day. He played flawless golf the rest of the way, recording seven birdies and an eagle. “It was a little cold this morning, and I made a poor swing (at the first), but I knew I was playing well, so I just kept plugging along and had a nice round,” said the 25-year-old, who finished one shot behind Walker Lee, last Sunday’s winner in Bucaramanga.
The eagle at the par-5 No. 12, that plays at 566 yards, stood out for Hitt. “It was a tough hole today, with the right-to-left wind and the big dogleg. I hit a big, high-sliced driver and hit a 4-iron (approach) into maybe 25 to 30 feet and made [a putt] that lipped all the way around and went in. Those are some nice breaks that you get when you are playing well,” said Hitt, who got to 6-under for the day at that point before finishing with back-to-back birdies, on 15 and 16.
Starting on 10 in the afternoon, Creighton kept a steady pace, birdieing holes 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, and 17. “It was pretty clean, pretty stress-free,” said the man who faced quite a bit of stress when he landed in Colombia last week and found his golf bag battered and his clubs damaged out of a flight from Fort Lauderdale.
With help from local player Ivan Camilo Ramirez, who lent him an old bag and some clubs, Creighton has posted rounds of 66-68-64-67-66-66 while playing with only 12 clubs in his bag.
“I’m playing without the 5-iron and the 3-wood, but I like this putter that I got a lot. I got it from Ivan’s caddie, in Bucaramanga. I like it a lot, and I think I’m going to keep it in the bag for a while,” he said, letting out a laugh while looking at the bright side of his damaged-club situation from last week.
Sharing the lead through two days has been quite a turnaround for Creighton at El Rincón, where he posted rounds of 76-75 to miss the cut last year with a full set of clubs. “I played horrible here last year. I have always struggled at elevation,” admitted the 27-year-old. “I like to curve the ball, and the ball just doesn’t want to curve when you are at elevation, it just flies straight.”
Creighton is also giving credit to his local caddie, Juan Antonio, who was also on the bag last week for a tie for seventh in Bucaramanga.
“He has helped me a lot. He is a great caddie. He has just been able to talk me through the shots a little bit more and get me a bit more committed to the (yardage) number I have been trying to hit. That has helped a lot,” added the 16th-ranked player in the Totalplay Cup standings.
The cut came at 2-under 142, with 61 players advancing to the weekend, with play beginning Saturday morning at 7:40 local time. The last grouping, featuring Hitt, Creighton and Meyer is scheduled to tee off at 11:30 a.m.
Did you know Myles Creighton will be playing a PGA TOUR event next week? He was one of 12 Canadian golfers awarded sponsor exemptions into the RBC Canadian Open. The tournament begins next Thursday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto. Creighton will be making his second consecutive start in his national open, coming off a missed cut in 2022 (72-74). The list of invitees also includes Stuart Macdonald, who ranks 17th in the Totalplay Cup standings and is tied for 49th after consecutive 71s heading into this weekend at El Rincón.
The following is a look at the different performance rewards available for the players who finish the season inside the Totalplay Cup top 60:
Coming off an opening 75 that placed him in a tie for 109th, Totalplay Cup leader Walker Lee turned things around with a 67 to make the cut on the number, at 2-under 142. Only three of the Totalplay Cup top-10 players competing this week missed the cut. This is how they stand through 36 holes of play at El Rincón de Cajicá Golf Club:
|Points List Pos.||Player||Position||Score|
|1||Walker Lee (U.S.)||T49||142 (-2)|
|2||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||CUT||149 (+5)|
|3||Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)||T30||139 (-5)|
|4||Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)||T14||137 (-7)|
|5||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)*||--||--|
|6||Toni Hakula (Finland)||T22||138 (-6)|
|7||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||T7||135 (-9)|
|8||Matt Ryan (U.S.)||CUT||145 (+1)|
|9||Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)||T40||141 (-3)|
|10||Jake McCrory (U.S.)||CUT||144 (par)|
Starting the day in a tie for 98th after an opening 2-over 74, Andrew Alligood moved into a tie for 14th, thanks to a week-low, 9-under 63. The 25-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, had the strongest turnaround on day two, playing 11 shots better and advancing 84 positions. “I just hit the fairway, hit it to 15 feet and made the putt. Maybe one birdie inside of eight feet, the rest were 10-15 footers, and a 20-footer for eagle, on 7. (It was) just a lot of really good solid golf and the putts were dropping at the same time,” he said of his impressive round.
Andrew Alligood got to 11-under for the day through 14 holes after making an eagle (hole 7) and nine birdies (holes 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14). With the 59 alert turned on, he finished with three pars and a double bogey at the par-3 16th. “Into a strong wind, I wanted to hit the low-flier shot with the (8-)iron, but up here, in this altitude, if you take too much spin off it just falls out of the air. I also didn’t hit it super solid, so it was a combination of both. I’m not thinking too much about it. I mean I did just about everything well today other than that swing,” said Alligood of the tee shot that carried the water but bounced back in, resulting in a double-bogey 5 that slowed him.
Tied for 30th after rounds of 70-69, RicardoCelia of Barranquilla remains the leading Colombian through two rounds. Twenty-one Colombians started the tournament, and the following are the four playing this weekend:
|T30||Ricardo Celia||70-69—139 (-5)|
|T49||Daniel Zuluaga||71-71—142 (-2)|
|T49||Omar Beltrán||73-69—142 (-2)|
|T49||a-Daniel Medellin||72-70—142 (-2)|
María José Bohórquez of Colombia, the fourth female to make a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica start, missed the cut by 12 shots, with rounds of 76-78 to finish at 10-over 154. After four tries, no woman has made a cut on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The following is a look at their performance in those four starts:
|Paola Pavón (Mexico)||2019 Mexico Open||Cut||81-76—157 (+17)|
|a-María Cabanillas (Argentina)||2022 Neuquén Argentina Classic||Cut||82-82—164 (+20)|
|Mariajo Uribe (Colombia)||2023 Colombia Classic presented by Rocha Brothers||Cut||73-69—142 (+2)|
|Maria José Bohórquez (Colombia)||2023 Inter Rapidísimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo||Cut||76-78—154 (+10)|
Second-Round Weather: Cloudy. High of 65. Wind ENE at 7-21 mph.