MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - North Texas freshman Carlos Ortiz didn't take long to make his mark playing his first Sun Belt Conference Championship as he shot a career-low round of 8-under 64 and he sits atop the leaderboard after the first 18 holes.
The round of 64 is a freshman record at North Texas and ties for the second lowest recorded round in school history. His round also tied the course record at the Fighting Joe course at The Shoals.
Ortiz is six strokes ahead of his nearest competition and his round of 64 is the lowest round by a North Texas golfer since 2008. North Texas as a team is alone in second place, just five strokes behind Middle Tennessee after firing an opening round of 291.
Ortiz started strong and finished even stronger. He played the first nine holes at 3-under par 33. The highlight came on the par-5 seventh hole when Ortiz notched an eagle. He played the back nine holes even better with a 31. He ended the day with seven birdies, one eagle, one bogey, and nine pars.
Fellow freshman Rodolfo Cazaubon is in the top 10 after his opening round of even-par 72. Cazaubon had four birdies on the day and his only hiccup came on the 13th hole with a double-bogey. Cazaubon is tied for seventh place.
Senior Peter Fallon shot an opening round of 4-over par 76 and he is tied for 27th. Freshman Marco Scarola opened with a 79 and Dustin Thompson shot an 80 in his first 18 holes.
Ortiz is looking to become only the eighth player to win an individual title outright at North Texas and the ninth individual title overall. Brad Besler last won the 2003 Individual Sun Belt Conference title for the Mean Green.
The second round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship continues tomorrow from the Fighting Joe course. Live stats can be found at www.golfstat.com