Villa Allende, Cordoba, Argentina (April 17, 2014) – Playing without wind for 14 holes early in the day helped Argentina’s César Costilla get off to a fast start in the opening round of the 83rd Abierto OSDE del Centro presented by FiberCorp.
Costilla, a 33-year-old from Tucuman, ended up firing a 5-under 66 for a two-stroke lead at the Cordoba Golf Club. Chile’s Nico Geyger managed to post a 68 to claim the solo second.
Cordoba’s own Ángel Cabrera, the tournament’s defending champion, led a group of five players who shot 69 to trail the leader by three. Those joining the two-time major champion in a tie for third are his countrymen Emilio Domínguez and Marcelo Monje, and the USA’s Chris Gilman and Gunner Wiebe.
"Today I started playing really well, striking the ball well thankfully. I have been working very hard on my game lately and I would love to repeat what I did here in 2012 when I won this event,” said the 34-year old from Tucuman who defeated his countryman César Monasterio to claim this title in a playoff two years ago.
Confident about competing on a course where he played for the first time at age 16, Costilla said he has focused this week on his short game.
“Whenever you miss a shot here, you end up facing a very tough up-and-down, so I have been working a lot on my game around the greens,” added the leader who putted extremely well.
His only bogey of the day came early at the third hole, but he recovered soon with birdies on Nos. 5 and 7. Then he had a great stretch of four birdies between Nos. 10 and 15 to put up a number no one was able to match.
“I chipped in for birdie on 14 and then I made a great second shot on 15 and sank a 30- footer for another birdie. My putting really made a difference and hopefully I can keep it that way,” said this quite Argentine who has collected two top-25 finishes in four PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts this season.
Watch: Round 1 Highlights
Weather. Mostly cloudy. A high of 63 degrees. Winds South at 10 mph, an unusual direction for the wind on a course where it mostly blows from the North.
Under Par. Only 10 players on the 143-man field from 22 countries were able to post a red number today.
Cabrera and the start of his title defense. Although he missed several short putts, Argentina’s Ángel Cabrera was somewhat pleased with his performance of four birdies and two bogeys to begin the title defense.
“I struck the ball well. I think I hit 16 greens today, but I missed many short putts. I must have had 33 putts, so I didn’t really make any putts today. Anyway, I’m not complaining, any start under par is good, especially for me because that first round is always tough for me,” said the local superstar who started his road to victory with a 72 in the opening round a year ago.
Cabrera was amused about dealing with the winds from the South, which are very unusual at the Cordoba Golf Club.
“If the wind remains like this it’s going to be very complicated,” he said about the winds that hit the course at 15 mph. “The weather is the weather. We usually play the course with winds blowing from the North. These winds are going to make us work a lot harder.”
A two-time major champion adored by the local fans, Cabrera has collected two wins in just three starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He has won the Abierto OSDE del Centro a record-tying eight times and one more title would separate him as the winningest player ever.
Chris Gilman. Playing in the first group that started off the 10th, Chris Gilman was one of the players who enjoyed the best conditions out there today. He had already played 15 holes when the wind started to be a factor. “It was as easiest it was going to play all week and I still had to play really well to shoot 69, so I think that’s a testament to how hard the golf course is and I think I was lucky I was able to get in 15 holes without much wind, so I think that was really the key to my success today,” commented the 27-year-old from California.
Despite missing the cut here a year ago, when he secured his Tour card at the Qualifying Tournament in Lima in January, Gilman said he couldn’t wait to come here to join a field featuring the larger than life local stars.
“Even people from the (United) States know how important ‘Pato’ (Cabrera) and ‘Gato’ (Romero) are to this tournament. I feel blessed to be here. I mean, it’s a beautiful country, it’s a beautiful city, surrounded by beautiful people. In addition to that I have a better plan to play the course… There were several factors why I was looking forward to coming to Cordoba, as well as Montevideo (next week). Hopefully we can keep this little roll going for the rest of the week,” said the player who finished in a tie for third three weeks ago at the Stella Artois Open in Guatemala.
Bogey-free rounds. None.
Scoring average at the Córdoba Golf Club’s Par-71
Front 9 (35) Back 9 (36) Total
Ronda 1 37.032 37.666 74.698 (+3.698)