Putnam leads suspended first round in Mexico

May 23, 2013

By Royce Thompson, Web.com Tour staff

LEON, Mexico – In the second group off of No. 1 this morning, Michael Putnam carded two eagles on his opening nine holes at El Bosque Country Club. He would go on to make four birdies coming in and fire a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Mexico Championship presented by Banamex. Due to a one hour weather delay in the afternoon, first-round play was suspended for the day at 8:11PM CT due to darkness with 26 players still on the course.

In a share of second place two back are Argentina’s Clodomiro Carranza, who finished third on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica's Order of Merit in 2012, Australia’s James Nitties and Mathew Goggin and PGA TOUR veteran Jeff Klauk.

Wes Roach, Nick Rousey, Colombia’s Manuel Marizalde, Stephan Jaeger and 2009 Mexico Championship winner, Troy Merritt, share sixth place at five-under 67.

With perfect weather and smooth greens to start the day, Putnam took advantage of his draw and was eager to talk about his good fortune in round one.

“I got lucky," Putnam revealed about his second shot into No. 1. “On the first hole I wasn’t trying to hit it at the pin. I was going for the green but was trying to leave myself a long putt and just pushed it right at the pin and it ended up six feet from the hole.”

After that eagle putt went in the Pepperdine University alum would not make another sub-par score until he got to the par-5 8th hole measuring 546 yards.

After a huge drive, Putnam hit an eight-iron to 10 feet and made that putt for his second eagle on his front nine. The last time he made two eagles in a round was the 2009 Utah Championship and those were not on the same nine.

The leader after round one felt he could be aggressive with the calm conditions and also expressed the importance of taking advantage of his morning starting time.

“There was no wind today and the greens were a little soft so we could attack the pins,” he said. “It’s important to get off to a good start which I did today because tomorrow’s round in the afternoon is going to be tough.”

Carranza was able to finish strong with birdies on 17 and 18 despite a few near misses toward the end of his opening round. The Argentine believes that he can stay at this pace no matter the conditions Friday afternoon.

“I think that tomorrow the greens will dry out and it will play firmer,” he said. “It will be tougher out there but I believe that I can play just as well tomorrow.”

Nitties, who finished T4 at this tournament in 2011, feels comfortable here and is really embracing everything about Leon.

“I’ve got some good memories here, I like the course and I’ve played well here,” the PGA TOUR veteran explained. “I like this place, I like the town and it’s a good tournament. So, I have some good feelings and find it fun to be out here.”

First-Round Notes

-- Play was originally suspended at 6:34 PM local time due to inclement weather approaching the area. It was restarted at 7:35 PM CT and then called at 8:11 PM CT due to darkness. Round one will resume at 8 AM CT.

-- Bhavik Patel had a double-eagle on the 546 yard par-5 8th in round one. After a drive of over 400 yards the California native really liked his number into the green even though his ball ran through the fairway and into the rough.

“I had a perfect number in to the green because there is a ridge behind the hole,” he explained. “I didn’t get it as high up the ridge as I wanted to, but right when it hit it was just tracking. As it was coming back it just looked good the whole way and I’m fortunate it went in.”

Patel faltered a bit coming in and carded a one-under 71 on Thursday and his currently in a tie for 36th place.

-- Four of the top-10 current money leaders are in the field this week:

Name Score (To Par) Pos.
2 Benjamin Alvarado 70 (-2) T25
4 Kevin Kisner 69 (-3) T15
9 Mark Anderson 68 (-4) T11
10 Tim Wilkinson 70 (-2) T25
There are 20 Mexico natives playing this week. Here are all their results:
Name Scores (To Par)
T36 Armando Favela 71 (-1)
T48 Oscar Fraustro 72 (E)
T68 Mauricio Azcue
73 (+1)
T68 Rosendo Castaneda 73 (+1)
T88 Efren Serna Jr. 74 (+2)
T88 Federico Garcia 74 (+2)
T99 Manuel Inman
75 (+3)
T132 Antonio Serna 79 (+7)
141 Alex Quiroz                            
Sebastian Vazquez*                
Mauricio Bercun*                   
Estanislao Guerrero*                          Santiago Quirarte*                  
Andres Garcia*                                   
Jose Octavio Gonzalez*                     
Oscar Serna*                          
Juan Diego Fernandez*                      
Jose de Jesus Rodriguez*                   
Ismael Estrada*                                  
 Efren Serna*
83 (+11)
  *Has not finished first round due to play being called.  
There are also 13 additional Latin Americans playing in the Mexico Championship. Here are their results:
Pos. Name Country Scores (to par)
T2 Clodomiro Carranza Argentina 66 (-6)
T6 Manuel Merizalde Colombia 67 (-5)
T15 Ariel Canete Argentina 69 (-3)
T15 Alexandre Rocha Brazil 69 (-3)
T25 Benjamin Alvarado Chile 70 (-2)
T36 Fernando Mechereffe Brazil 71 (-1)
T48 Miguel Angel Carballo Argentina 72 (E)
T105 Camilo Benedetti
Colombia 76 (+4)
T105 Rafael Echenique Argentina 76 (+4)
T117 Carlos Franco
Andres Echavarria*
Tommy Cocha*
Matia O'Curry*
77 (+5)
  *Has not finished their first round due to play being called.    
There are two past champions in the field this week. Here are their results:
Scores (to par) Pos.
Troy Merrit (2009) 67 (-5) T6
Jamie Lovemark (2010) 72 (E) T48