Ortiz Returns Home As The PGA Tour Stops In DFW
Former Mean Green Great Enjoying Success In His Rookie Season On The PGA Tour
DENTON -- Two years ago almost to the day, Carlos Ortiz finished a very innocuous round of 74, and that was it. His college career at North Texas ended in the far reaches of eastern Washington with very few people taking note.
Nowadays, everyone is taking note of what he is doing on the golf course, and $1.3, million dollars later, Ortiz is one of the hottest rookies on the PGA Tour.
After his well-chronicled rise through the Web.com Tour in 2014, which was capped off by his being named the Player of the Year, his PGA Tour debut has had its ups and downs, but for the next two weeks Ortiz will be playing at home when he plays the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial starting on Thursday in Fort Worth and the Byron Nelson Classic next week in Dallas.
Despite still being a fresh face among the highest level of professional golf, Ortiz is now smarter, more savvy and more mature on and off the course. He keeps a very close circle of friends from his playing days and family, but has also been welcomed into the PGA family by everyone involved.
During his practice round preparing for the Colonial, Ortiz was playing in relative peace and quiet compared to the throngs following Jordan Spieth, but at almost every hole friends came by to say hello. Colonial volunteers, bloggers, CBS camera crew members and fellow players all came out and embraced Ortiz during his 18 holes on Tuesday.
"We are on the road for pretty much 22 straight weeks," said the CBS spotter for David Feherty before greeting Ortiz. It's a glamorous lifestyle once you reach the top, but getting to the top wasn't easy.
After punching his ticket to the PGA Tour full-time last year, Ortiz didn't have much time to celebrate. Thanks to the Tour's new quirky calendar, the new season started back in October.
Ortiz has played in 17 tournaments so far, made 12 cuts and had seven top-25 finishes. His official World Golf ranking is 112th, and he is 79th in the FedEx Cup standings heading into the Colonial.
Anyone out there that would have taken the bet that Ortiz would rank higher on the money list right now than Adam Scott and Lee Westwood before the season would have been accused of spending too much time in Colorado.
He still has a long way to go. Ortiz has yet to play in a major in his career but there are still three opportunities for him to qualify for one this year. He's been on the front page of the leaderboard a couple of times this season, but his only top-10 finish came in Malaysia. Growing pains were expected.
But no one can argue with the results since walking off the course for the final time as a North Texas golfer.