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Monroe Invitational: Oliva Pinto still leads, but Coody closes in
Parker Coody (Monroe Invitational photo)
Parker Coody (Monroe Invitational photo)

By Rick Woelfel for AmateurGolf.com

As the Monroe Invitational hits the halfway mark, there’s quite a crowd at the top of the leaderboard. First-day leader Agustin Segundo Oliva Pinto remains at the head of the pack but seven pursuers are within four shots of him.

One of them is Parker Coody, whose 5-under par 65 on Friday was the low round of the day and has him tied for second place at 2-under par 138, two shots off the pace.

Coody’s round was all the more remarkable since Monroe Country Club played quite differently on Thursday than it did on Wednesday.

"Yesterday the weather was perfect," Coody said. "Light wind and warm. Today it was cold, windy, and raining. So, it was quite a bit different."

Coody, the grandson of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody recently finished his freshman season at Texas where he helped the Longhorns earn a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division I Championship and tied for 15th individually.

He played his front nine on Thursday in 3-under par 32 with the help of 20-foot birdie putts at the par-4 fifth and par-3 eighth. He recorded his only bogey of the round at the par-4 10th but converted birdie chances at the par-5 12th and par-4 14th before holing out from a bunker at the par-3 17th.

Coody said he adjusted his mindset to fit the weather conditions. "Yesterday (when he shot 73) I was way too aggressive," he said. "Today, I knew the weather was going to be bad so I was pretty conservative for the most part going to greens. I was hitting fairways off the tee and then I just made a few putts and it added up pretty quickly."

Coody said he’s been working with Scott Foster along with Texas head coach John Fields and assistant Jean-Paul Hebert to enhance his course-management skills. "Yesterday I was kind of ignorant and threw it to the side and I wasn’t paying too much attention," he said. "Over this last year I’ve become more mature and a more reasonable player versus just firing at pins and hitting clubs I shouldn’t off the tee, just to force a birdie when the chances aren’t that great instead of just taking your 15-20 footers and relying on your putter to make it."

"It’s been a little bit of a learning curve this freshman year."

Olivia Pinto, who just finished his freshman season at UNC- Wilmington, shot a 2-over par 72 on Thursday that puts him at 4-under par 136 through 36 holes. He struggled on his outward nine at Monroe Golf Club, recording four bogeys before recording two birdies coming in.

"On the back I am leaving myself with shots I like the most," he said, "shorter shots with my wedges which have been good all week."

Charlie Nikitas from Miami of Ohio shares second place with Coody at 138 after a round of 68. Nikitas, who started his round on the back nine, birded two of his first three holes and made the turn two under par for the round and the tournament before playing the front nine in even par.

Reid Davenport from Vanderbilt is alone in fourth place at 1- under par 139 after a 71 while Johnny Travale (UCF), Andy Ogletree (Georgia Tech), Logan McAllister (Oklahoma) and three-time Canadian Mid-Amateur champion Garrett Rank are all at even-par 140.

Notes: Rank, the low mid-amateur in the field and a National Hockey League referee by trade, stated out by blending three birdies and two bogeys on the back side into a 1-under par 34 before adding a single birdie on the front. A year ago this week, Rank was teeing it up at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open.

Results: Monroe Invitational
1MSAndy OgletreeLittle Rock, MS100069-71-69-70=279
T2MADavis ChatfieldAttleboro, MA70072-69-72-68=281
T2ArgentinaAgustin Segundo Oliva PintoArgentina70064-72-75-70=281
T4JapanKoichiro IshikaJapan50070-71-74-68=283
T4ILCharlie NikitasGlenview, IL50070-68-74-71=283

View full results for Monroe Invitational

ABOUT THE Monroe Invitational

Small-field invitational event played on a great par 70 Donald Ross course. 72 hole stroke play championship dates back to 1937. No cut. Once the final field is determined by the MIC Selection Committee, official invitations will be issued. Invited players will be provided with a code to register using the AmateurGolf.com website. To apply for an invitation, visit the tournament website.

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