Slow play is every golfer’s worst nightmare. No one enjoys that one member of a group who takes his or her sweet time while the others are ready to move the round along at a good pace.
Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz won the Latin American Amateur Championship at 14-under to become the first Mexican-born player to play at the Masters since Victor Regalado did in 1979. But before he claimed his invite to Augusta National this April, he was caught playing too far ahead of his third round group on Saturday.
According to Golf Digest, Ortiz’s group, which was the final threesome to go out on Saturday, had been put on the clock early on during the back nine. Seeing that his two partners were falling behind, Ortiz starting playing half a hole ahead of them in order to speed up the pace of the round.
After finishing up at the 12th hole, Ortiz went ahead to the 13th tee and left behind his two partners to putt out at 12. After hitting his tee shot at 13, Ortiz started walking down the fairway before the other two had even gotten to the 13th tee. Following his approach shot, Ortiz was already waiting near the green as his two partners hit their second shots. As a result, a rules official approached Ortiz and informed him that he needed to slow down and wait for the others to catch up.
“He kind of had to come on to the green and told me to slow down a little bit,” said Ortiz, who was worried that a slow-play penalty would take him out of the lead. “I was just playing too fast.”
“It’s a difficult situation,” R&A director of rules Grant Moir said. “You know he just wants to help the group get back into position.”
Ortiz shot a final round of six-under 66 to close out the tournament and earn the victory on Sunday. Ortiz finished the back nine with an eagle and three birdies.
Along with earning an invite to Augusta National, Ortiz also receives invitations to the U.S. Amateur and the Amateur Championship. He also took home exemptions into U.S. Open sectional qualifying and Open Championship final qualifying.
All we can do now is hope we get to see Ortiz try to speed up his group at the Masters this spring.