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All pistons firing for Oliva Pinto as he posts 64 for Monroe lead
Agustin Segundo Oliva Pinto (Photo submitted)
Agustin Segundo Oliva Pinto (Photo submitted)

By Rick Woelfel for AmateurGolf.com

Agustin Segundo Oliva Pinto made quite an impression on Wednesday in his debut at the Monroe Invitational.

Oliva Pinto, who recently completed his freshman season at North Carolina Wilmington, fired a 6-under 64 at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, N.Y., to grab a three-shot lead after the opening round.

Notre Dame’s Davis Lamb and Furman’s Jack Crosby shared second place in the field of 82 players with matching rounds of 3-under 67. Reid Davenport (Vanderbilt), Logan McAllister (Oklahoma) and Frank Lindwell (Iowa State) were all at 68. Four players were at 69 including Sam Meek (Nevada), Drew Jones (Texas), and Andy Ogletree and Ben Smith, both from Georgia Tech. Six other players were at even-par 70.

A native of Cordoba, Argentina, Oliva Pinto arrived at the Monroe Invitational after opening the summer season with the Dogwood Invitational. During a busy college-golf postseason, he competed in a PGA Tour Latinoamerica event, the Abierto OSDE del Centro, and tied for 34th.

That pro start came days after winning the CAA Conference Championship title, and days before tying for 60th at the NCAA Division I Southeast Regional.

Oliva Pinto had things going his way at Monroe Golf Club from the outset. Starting on the back nine, he recorded consecutive birdies at the par-4 11th and par-5 12th, then birdied the par-4 15th before recording consecutive birdies at the 17th and 18th, both par fours, to make the turn in 5-under par 30.

He left his driver in his bag for the most part on his first nine, and focused on finding the fairway instead.

"On the back, if you keep it in the fairway you are going to have a lot of short shots in," he said. "I used my 2-iron today and my short game was working for me, which was a great combination."

Oliva Pinto birdied the par-4 first hole (his 10th of the day) and followed up with a birdie at the par-3 eighth before finishing his round with his only bogey of the day at the 595-yard par-5 ninth. Still, his 64 was his lowest round of the year, a result in part of a new putting grip and a revitalized short game.

"I knew I had some weapons to begin the round after switching up my putting grip," Oliva Pinto said. "My short game was really on and gave me a lot of confidence."

Lamb, who recently completed his junior season at Notre Dame, also started his round on the second nine, and made the turn at even par but recorded three birdies on his second nine.

Crosby, who just completed his sophomore season at Furman, got off to an impressive start on Wednesday. Starting at the 10th hole, he recorded four birdies on his opening nine to make the turn in 4-under par 31. He bogeyed the first hole (his 10th) and played even-par golf the rest of the way.

Impressive debuts are nothing new for Crosby. He won the individual title in the first collegiate tournament he played in for Furman, the Camden Collegiate Invitational last October.

Notes: Kevin O'Connell, who won this event last year, is not defending, having earned a place in the U.S. Open. Two players withdrew, Ben Fernandez from Kansas State and Daniel Gurtner-Morales from TCU.

Second-round tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, using a two-tee start. There are showers in the forecast for the remainder of the week.

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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