Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz Off to Good Start at Tokyo Games
Reigning Vivint Houston Open champ Carlos Ortiz eager to grow golf in Mexico
Mexican golfers Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer carry more than personal goals at the Tokyo Olympics. As they’ve done at the Masters and throughout the PGA Tour, they welcome the weight of growing their sport in a country known more for soccer and boxing and even baseball.
Each tournament, whether it’s a major or the Vivint Houston Open, provides Ortiz and Ancer an opportunity to grow golf in Mexico.
That platform is amplified this week at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama City, Japan.
“We have this opportunity to represent the country,” said Ortiz, who became the first native of Mexico to win a PGA event in 42 years last November at the Houston Open. “Obviously, in a country where golf is not very big, being part of the Olympic Games and having the opportunity to win a medal would be huge for the sport to continue growing in our country.
“It is great that Abe and I are representing Mexico this week, and it is something that I have had as a goal since the last Olympics, and I am very happy to be here.”
Carlos Ortiz tied for third after Round 1
Ortiz got off to a strong start in Round 1 of the men’s golf tournament Thursday. He shot a 65 Wednesday to finish the first round tied for third, one shot behind Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond. He’s two shots behind the leader, Septt Straka of Austria.
Ortiz was tied with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters for third.
There’s obviously a long way to go for the Guadalajara, Mexico, native. Nonetheless, the University of North Texas product was pleased with the way he played in the first round.
He couldn’t hit the fairways at Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East course early on. He also noted that the course is difficult from the rough.
“So, once I got in a rhythm and started hitting fairways it became a little bit more easy and opened up the golf course,” he said.
Ortiz and Ancer embrace Olympics experience
Ortiz is staying with the Mexican boxing team at the Olympic village during the Tokyo Games.
He wants to soak in as much of the Olympics experience as possible.
Ancer is also trying to enjoy the Olympics experience while hoping to inspire more athletes to golf in Mexico.
“I am very proud to represent our country,” Ancer said. “It is something really special, something that we take very seriously. And doing it in golf, which is not one of the most common sports in Mexico, is huge for us.
“So being here, Carlos and I, in Tokyo at such an incredible event is exciting. We are very, very proud to be here.”
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