Doeden shoots 67 to lead by one at demanding PGA Riviera Maya
5 Min Read
Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA
TULUM, Mexico–A nothing-to-lose attitude paid off for Justin Doeden in the opening round of the season-ending Bupa Tour Championship at demanding PGA Riviera Maya on Thursday. With birdies on four of his first eight holes in a day where he started on No. 10, the Prior Lake, Minnesota, native went on to card a 5-under 67 to lead by one over Chile’s Carlos Bustos and by two over New Zealand’s Harry Hillier.
Only eight other players were able to shoot under par on a course playing extremely tough. With Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Rodolfo Cazaubón leading the way, a group of five players tied for fourth, at 2-under 70, also includes Leandro Marelli of Argentina, Gabriel Morgan Birke of Chile and Thomas Lilly of North Carolina.
At 1-under 71, the Argentine duo of Tommy Cocha and Rafa Echenique joined Totalplay Cup No. 1 Myles Creighton of Canada are in a tie for the ninth spot. Echenique was at 5-under with three holes left to play but finished double bogey, bogey, bogey to show just how quickly things can change.
“Look, I got not a lot to lose this week,” said the 28-year-old Doeden, who entered the week ranked 33rd in the Totalplay Cup standings. “I was pretty free out there. I had a good group, and I got off to a good start, hitting it great.”
Playing in the first group that started off No. 10 at 7:30 a.m., Doeden opened the day with a birdie. “Our whole group (birdied 10), which was a great start. (I) hit it to a couple of feet there,” said Doeden, who added back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 before sinking a 30-footer for his fourth birdie of the day at the par-3 17th.
After closing his first nine with a bogey on 18, he birdied 1 and 2 to get back on track. Down the stretch, he bogeyed No. 6 and then birdied No. 8 for a number no one else in the 53-man field would be able to match in the hot and humid weather.
“Anytime I can, I grab some ice out of the cooler and put it around my neck. But yeah, that's an element this week, trying to keep yourself cool. But again, it's just trying to hit it one shot at a time and go from there,” Doeden added about the 89-degree weather that had a feel-like temperature of 100.
Trailing the fifth spot in the Totalplay Cup points list by 567 points, the University of Minnesota alum could potentially move to fourth in the standings with a victory. In order for that to happen, he would need several of the leading players to have a slow week.
“Top 25, you get some benefits,” he said about a realistic goal of finishing 25th or better in the Totalplay Cup, a position that rewards players ranked sixth through 25th with an exemption into second stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry. “But again, I'm just (of) the mindset of nothing to lose this week. You know, I’m swinging for the fences.”
Did you know Justin Doeden is a former LOCALiQ Series champion? In the series of events created to provide the International Tours players with competition opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he won the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills in Florida. He shot 15-under to win the 54-hole event by two shots over Norway’s Andreas Halvorsen.
Following an opening 71 of three birdies and two bogeys, Totalplay Cup No. 1 Myles Creighton is the best-positioned player among those who started the Bupa Tour Championship inside the top 10 in the season-long race to move up to the Korn Ferry Tour. This is how the players inside the Totalplay Cup top 10 started the tournament at Atlas Country Club:
|Points List Pos.||Player||Position||Score|
|1||Myles Creighton (Canada)||T9||71 (-1)|
|2||Walker Lee (U.S.)||T44||78 (+6)|
|3||Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)||T13||73 (+1)|
|4||Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)||T41||77 (+5)|
|5||Austin Hitt (U.S.)||T20||74 (+2)|
|6||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||T20||74 (+2)|
|7||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||T44||78 (+6)|
|8||Toni Hakula (Finland)||T20||74 (+2)|
|9||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)*||--||--|
|10||Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)||48||79 (+7)|
*Korn Ferry Tour player, not playing this week
In a five-way tie for fourth, at 2-under, Alvaro Ortiz and Rodolfo Cazaubón are the best of six Mexican players competing this week. Coming off a solo third-place Sunday at the Jalisco Open Guadalajara, Ortiz had three birdies and one bogey, while Cazaubón had four birdies and two bogeys.
All the Mexicans in the field are in the hunt for two additional bonuses of U.S. $5,000 available by Bupa Mexico to each of the two highest-ranked Mexican players at the conclusion of the Totalplay Cup season. The following are their scores and positions through 18 holes:
|Pos.||Player||Score||Current Totalplay Cup Pos.|
|T4||Alvaro Ortiz||70 (-2)||26|
|T4||Rodolfo Cazaubón||70 (-2)||39|
|T20||Raúl Pereda||74 (+2)||25|
|T20||Jorge Villar||74 (+2)||38|
|T30||Luis Gerardo Garza||75 (+3)||32|
|T36||Isidro Benítez||76 (+4)||44|
The top-10 table shows number of points awarded at the season-ending Bupa Tour Championship in comparison to the regular season events.
Bupa Tour Championship Points Distribution
|Regular Season Events||Bupa Tour Championship|
The following is a look at the different performance rewards available for the players who finish the season inside the Totalplay Cup top 60:
2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player Benefits
|Totalplay Cup Position|
|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|
|Nos. 1-60||Exempt through Latin America swing of the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas|
For the second consecutive season, the Tour will be enhancing the race for the Totalplay Cup, providing a U.S. $100,000 bonus pool for the top-10 finishers in the standings at the end of the 2022-23 season. The winner of the Totalplay Cup will receive $20,000 in addition to his 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership. The following is the bonus pool breakdown:
Totalplay Cup Bonus Breakdown
|Totalplay Cup Position||Bonus Amount|
First-Round Weather: Clear sky in the morning and partly cloudy in the afternoon. High of 89. Wind E at 11-18 mph. A quick downpour forced the suspension of play for a few minutes early in the afternoon, but players remained in position to resume play soon after.