Colombia’s Camilo Aguado is making a habit of going low in golf tournaments—and it’s paying off. A month ago, Aguado was playing in the final event of the Mexican Tour season, a co-sanctioned event with PGA TOUR Latinoamerica’s Dev Series. At one point in his third round, he was 10-under through 10 holes before shooting a 63. Tuesday at The Club at Weston Hills’ Players Course, Aguado, playing in the first round of the Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournament enjoyed a six-hole stretch where he was 7-under. He ended his day at 10-under 62, the first time he had ever finished a round double figures under-par. Aguado leads France’s Jeremy Gandon and American Gavin Hall by two strokes. Matthew Organisak is alone in fourth, at 6-under.
“I think I played the whole round pretty similar. The difference was getting my irons inside five feet on the back nine,” Aguado explained of his 3-under 33 vs. his 7-under 29. “On the front nine, I was hitting good shots, but instead of five feet, my approaches were 12 feet. I didn’t make them, but on the back nine I did start making them.”
After recording a birdie at No. 9 to start his streak, Aguado had consecutive birdie putts from three feet, three feet and four feet, respectively. He then rolled in an 18-footer on No. 13 and holed his pitching wedge from 131 yards for the eagle on the 14th.
“I had some wind behind me, a little bit to the right. On the hole before I hit it from 125 (yards). I felt like if I hit the same shot, I could get it close,” Aguado added of his eagle. “I just hit it, and suddenly Jake (Marriott) starts telling me, ‘Hey, you just holed it.’ I was like, Cool. I started shouting because I had just made five birdies and an eagle. That was pretty fun.”
Aguado is playing some of the best golf of his career, and not only on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica once it restarted play after pandemic postponement. Aguado, who lives about 45 minutes from here, in Doral, had a strong LOCALiQ Series summer, turning in three top-four performances and only two over-par scores in 17 rounds. In his last official start, at the Puerto Plata Open in the Dominican Republic on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Aguado tied for 10th. He is currently 21st on the points list.
Near the top of a leaderboard at a Qualifying Tournament is not an unfamiliar position for Gandon. In January 2020, he defeated Toni Hakula in a playoff to grab medalist honors at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. “Especially right now, with COVID and everything. We don’t know what’s going to happen if we’re going to be cleared to play, so you have to take every opportunity and make the most out of it,” he said of his decision to play in this qualifier.
- Did you know Gavin Hall played college golf at the University of Texas and was teammates in Austin with, among others, Doug Ghim, Kramer Hickok, Beau Hossler and Scottie Scheffler? During his junior year, Hall, a Pittsford, New York, native was a Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist.
How the Tournament Works
There are 99 players in this field. Below is a breakdown of the various Mackenzie Tour membership statuses available this week.
|Medalist||Exempt membership for the 2021 season|
|2nd through 6th (no ties
|Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season|
|7th through 25th (plus ties)||Conditional membership|
- Despite the flurry of birdies and the eagle that Camilo Aguado had Tuesday, it was two pars that he felt were the keys to his round. After hitting his tee shot into the water at No. 16, he put his third shot onto the green and made a five-footer. “That was by far the best putt I made today—for par,” Aguado said. On his closing hole, Aguado hit his approach, the ball settling 25 feet from the cup. From there, he tried to make the birdie putt instead of lagging it, looking for a 61. After missing, Aguado had another five-footer for par, that he calmly sunk.
- Gavin Hall had conditional status on PGA TOUR Series-China in 2019 but did not play in any events. He also holds conditional status on the European Tour’s Challenge Tour. Since 2017, Hall has played a steady diet of mini tour events and state opens, winning 15 times.
- Jeremy Gandon had a strong opening to his tournament, making birdie at No. 1 and adding four more and an eagle for a front-nine, 7-under 29. His birdies came at Nos. 4 (17-foot putt), 5 (12 feet), 6 (six feet) and 7 (two-putt from 15 feet on the par-5). On the ninth hole, facing a 140-yard second shot, the native of Charpey, France, knocked his shot into the hole for the eagle.
- Coming out of Kansas State in 2019, Jeremy Gandon immediately qualified for the Mackenzie Tour and had a solid-if-unspectacular rookie season. He finished 64th on the Order of Merit, unable to retain his playing privileges. That’s what took him to PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for what turned out to be a suspended 2020 season. He tied for 35th in the season-opening event in Mazatlán last March and then made one of two cuts during the restart, tying for 23rd at the Puerto Plata Open. Gandon is currently 50th on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica points list.
- There are eight amateurs in this week’s field. Leading the way is Andrew Walker, who opened with a 4-under 67 and is tied for fifth. Walker was a senior during the 2019-20 season but returned to East Lansing when the NCAA granted all collegiate athletes an extra season because of issues surrounding COVID-19. The next-lowest amateur is Timmy Wideman, at 4-under 68.
- Roland Massimino, Jeremy Gandon’s teammate at the Kansas State University, had a hole-in-one on the 17th hole Tuesday. He spun in a 9-iron that landed and rolled backward into the hole. It was his third overall ace but his first in competition. Massimino finished the day at 3-under and enters the second round tied for 14th. When Gandon won the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament in a playoff against Toni Hakula, Massimino served as his caddie for the one-hole extra session. Massimino had earned his playing privileges earlier in the day and happily hopped on the bag to help his buddy. Massimino is currently 66th on the 2020-21 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica points list.
- Last month playing in the Dev Series’ GGPB Copa Puro Sinaloa Dev Series event in Mazatlán, Mexico, a co-sanctioned Mexican Tour tournament, Camilo Aguado held the 54-hole lead but fell into a tie with Mexico’s Rodolfo Cazaubón at the end of regulation. Cazaubón captured the title with a par on the first playoff hole when Aguado made a bogey.
“It’s up there. I’ve never shot 10-under in a tournament round. It was really fun to be out there. I felt really comfortable the whole day.” – Camilo Aguado on where his 62 Tuesday ranks among his all-time-best rounds
“I talked to my parents, and we realized the Mackenzie Tour is a great chance. I have never played up there other than the Canadian Am five years ago, when I played pretty decent. So, why not give it a chance?” – Camilo Aguado on why he’s trying to qualify for the Mackenzie Tour while holding PGA TOUR Latinoamerica status
“I live 45 minutes from here, so it was easy for me to play this course, a facility I knew from the LOCALiQ (Series), playing the other course. That was the main reason—giving me two chances to get to the Korn Ferry Tour.” –Camilo Aguado
“This round by far ranks among my best rounds ever, in terms of under-par. I shot 9-under a month ago in Mazatlán, on the Mexican Tour, I shot 9-under in Quito on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2019 and I shot 9-under on a golf course in Mexico when I was an amateur, four or five years ago. This is my first time shooting 10(-under), so I’m really, really happy to finally get to double digits in one round.” –Camilo Aguado
“You know you’re going to play four rounds this week, so the mental aspect is a little different.” –Jeremy Gandon on his strategy playing in a no-cut event
“On a course like this, you’re really trying to avoid the mistakes and avoid the bogeys.” –Jeremy Gandon
“I was more dialed in on my wedges and had a few short putts.” –Jeremy Gandon on the difference between his opening, 7-under 29 and his 1-under 35 on the back nine
“It was a good day’s work. The putter was hot today. I rode a good putter, the wind was pretty calm and the course was gettable.” – Gavin Hall
“I’ve been putting good swings on my full-swing shots. It’s been pretty simple; nothing fancy.” – Gavin Hall
“I wanted to learn how to win, so I built a schedule playing mini tours and I wanted to improve that way playing in the States. I’ve been putting up good numbers the last two years. I’ve been living in the car, driving everywhere and going to work.” – Gavin Hall