June 1, 2014
DENTON – One year ago, Carlos Ortiz was simply one of thousands of golfers who dreamt of playing on the PGA Tour one day, seeing their names on the leaderboard and having a brand new Cadillac waiting for them in the parking lot. One year later, Ortiz was one of those 120 players as he played in his first PGA Tour event this week, and not just any event, he played in “Jack’s Tournament”, the Memorial.
Ortiz didn’t just show up to play with the world’s best, he came to compete. He made the cut, something he never could have dreamed, especially after his first round. Ortiz opened with a 3-over par 75 and was near the bottom of the leaderboard after the first day
To make the cut, Ortiz couldn’t simply put an even-par score or go a few strokes under par, he had to go low. And he did just that, Ortiz shot a 4-under par 68 and made the cut as a first-timer.
“I was very pleased to have made the cut, especially after that first round,” said Ortiz. “It took me some time to realize what I had just done.”
And why not. Ortiz’s second round was 10 shots better than Rory McIlroy. It was better than Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth. It was only one round, but for Ortiz this was just what he’s been working towards.
“I knew I was going to get to the PGA sooner or later, but I guess it has come pretty quickly,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard to get where I am and that’s what it takes to play at this level.”
On the weekend, Ortiz shot a 3-over par third round and finished with an even-par on Sunday to finish in a tie for 65th place. He takes home $12,834 and adds that to an already astounding $365,469 he has piled up as the Web.com Tour money leader.
But the money hasn’t been the best part of the year for Ortiz.
“The best part has been not having to study anymore,” said a laughing Ortiz. “But I get to do what I like best which is playing golf. But I guess the best part up to now is winning in Mexico and making my cut in my first PGA tour event.”
Ortiz returns to the Web.com tour for the moment, knowing that if he captures one more victory he is back on the big league stage for the rest of the year. If that moment doesn’t come, with his two victories this season and massive money lead, his PGA tour card for the 2014-15 season is all but assured.
But for this four-time all-conference performer from North Texas, 365 days ago who could have thought he would be roaming around with the Golden Bear at “Jack’s Tournament”.