McCrory, a playoff winner in his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut
6 Min Read
Written by Greg Villalobos @PGATOURLA
TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina—What a debut. Making his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career start this week, Jake McCrory of Deer Park, Texas, walked away the winner of the 2023 Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational Sunday. The 27-year-old defeated Jesús Montenegro of Mar del Plata, Argentina, in a playoff hole to claim the title after the two finished regulation tied, at 19-under 269.
McCrory sank a 10-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole to lock up the win and charge into a tie for fourth in the season-long race for the Totalplay Cup. He also moved into a tie for third in the battle for the Zurich Argentina Swing, a competition that will crown a new winner next Sunday, at the conclusion of the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years in Buenos Aires.
Tied for the lead with Myles Creighton at the beginning of the day, McCrory called the final round “a grind.” He had a bogey early on No. 3 but bounced back with three birdies, on Nos. 6, 9 and 14, to card a 2-under 70 and catch Montenegro. In a tie for seventh through 54 holes and playing three groups ahead of McCrory, the Argentine had carded a bogey-free 6-under 66 to secure the clubhouse lead.
McCrory’s final stretch provided some drama, and he responded to the pressure, parring 16 with his ball on the cart path and then making a great up and down at the par-3 17th. The last hole provided him a chance to move past Montenegro, but he missed his birdie putt.
“I hit a really good putt (on 18 in regulation), which actually helped me in the playoff because I pretty much had the same line, just on the opposite side of the hole. It went in the second time,” he said of the straight 10-footer he made in overtime to defeat Montenegro, who walked away with a par and runner-up honors.
A Sam Houston State University product who turned pro in 2018, McCrory joined this week’s field, thanks to his Korn Ferry Tour conditional status. He tied for 126th at final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament last November, but his exempt position wasn’t good enough to make any Korn Ferry Tour fields.
McCrory now owns full status on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and is in position to battle for better status at the next level. “I haven’t really thought about it too much,” said McCrory when asked how this win changes his playing plans for the year. “It definitely will pique interest to what I do for the rest of the year.”
Did you know Jake McCrory became only the eighth player to win a tournament while making his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica debut?The previous seven to win in their first career Tour starts are Tommy Cocha (2012 Mundo Maya Open), Sebastián Salem (2012 Perú Open), Ángel Cabrera (2012 Visa Argentine Open), Ted Purdy (2013 Mexico Open), Ryan Sullivan (2013 Puerto Rico Classic), Ben Polland (2018 Guatemala Stella Artois Open) and Zack Fischer (2022 Visa Argentine Open).
This was Jake McCrory’s third career win as a professional, but his first in a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour tournament. Playing the All Pro Tour for his first few years as a pro, McCrory won the 2020 Atchafalaya Challenge, a 54-hole event in which he shot 69-65-70 (12-under) to win by two. He also added a win at the 2021 Coke Dr Pepper Open, where he posted rounds of 69-63-66-67 (23-under) for a two-shot victory.
Earning 500 Totalplay Cup Points with his victory, Jake McCrory charged into a tie for fourth in the Totalplay Cup Points List. With a total of 711 points earned, Chile’s Cristóbal Del Solar remains the leader. The following are the players inside the Totalplay Cup standings top 10 through the Tour’s visit to Termas de Rio Hondo:
Totalplay Cup Standings
(Through the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational)
|1||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)||711|
|2||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||635|
|3||Matt Ryan (U.S.)||536|
|T4||Zack Fischer (U.S.)||500|
|T4||Jake McCrory (U.S.)||500|
|6||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||468|
|7||Myles Creighton (Canada)||325|
|8||Jesús Montenegro (Argentina)||313|
|T9||Tim Widing (Sweden)||228|
|T9||Josh Goldenberg (U.S.)||228|
Despite the playoff loss, Jesús Montenegro leaves Termas de Rio Hondo pleased about putting an end to his struggles. The surprising winner of the Bupa Tour Championship, which closed the 2021-22 season last June, struggled in December, making only one cut in three starts to begin the current season (a tie for 42nd at the Neuquén Argentina Classic). “To be honest, I came in with low expectations. I hadn’t been playing too well, so whatever happens here it’s a bonus,” he said before facing McCrory in Sunday’s playoff. “What I did this week shows that I can compete well again, recording rounds under par, which I had not been getting lately. I’m happy with the result.”
Jesús Montenegro came excruciatingly close to making an eagle on No. 18 in regulation. A 3 at the uphill par-5 closing hole, which plays 567 yards long, would have earned him the title. “On 18 I had a bit of good and bad luck. I hit a pretty bad tee shot, wide open. I hit it in the rough and had 285 (yards), and I told my brother that I liked the 3-wood. I hit an amazing shot, and then I made a perfect approach. I hit it just like I wanted to, and it slowly rolled through the edge of the hole. At least I made the 4 that I wanted and secured a good number in the clubhouse,” said the 26-year old of the chip that almost went in, resting just a couple of inches off the cup.
Ollie Osborne fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65, recording his seven birdies on holes 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 14 and 16. In addition to carding the lowest round of the day and his incipient PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career, the 23-year-old SMU alum, had his best finish in four starts to move to 12th in the Totalplay Cup standings. “I’m super excited to get there. (It) felt like a long way away at the beginning of the week. I had some pretty good par saves out there. For the most part, it was pretty stress-free, a lot of birdie opportunities, and, yeah, putts were going in, things were going well,” said Osborne, who claimed medalist honors at the Mexico Q-School last November.
Tying for 23rd, at 11-under for the week to collect 35 Totalplay Cup Points, Linus Lilliedahl remains atop the Zurich Argentina Swing Standings. With a total of 635 points accumulated, he will enter the competition’s fourth and final event holding a 135-point lead over Jake McCrory, the highest-ranked player behind him scheduled to play the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years that begins Thursday at Ranelagh Golf Club in Buenos Aires.
Zurich Argentina Swing Standings
(Through the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational)
|1||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||635|
|2||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)||521|
|T3||Zack Fischer (U.S.)||500|
|T3||Jake McCrory (U.S.)||500|
|5||Myles Creighton (Canada)||325|
|6||Jesús Montenegro (Argentina)||313|
|7||Tim Widing (Sweden)||228|
|8||Ollie Osborne (U.S.)||210|
|9||Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)||189|
|10||Raúl Pereda (Mexico)||173|
Thirty-eight Argentines started in this event, with 17 making the cut. The top finisher was Jesús Montenegro, who lost to Jake McCrory in a playoff. Here are the locals who played this weekend and how they finished.
|2||Jesús Montenegro||269 (-19)|
|T8||Puma Domínguez||272 (-16)|
|T12||Franco Romero||275 (-13)|
|T12||Marcos Montenegro||275 (-13)|
|T18||Andrés Romero||276 (-12)|
|T18||Tommy Cocha||276 (-12)|
|T23||Andrés Gallegos||277 (-11)|
|T29||Ignacio Marino||278 (-10)|
|T36||Maxi Godoy||280 (-8)|
|T36||Leandro Marelli||280 (-8)|
|T40||Oreste Focaccia||281 (-7)|
|T40||Jaime López Rivarola||281 (-7)|
|T40||Rafael Echenique||281 (-7)|
|T40||Horacio Carbonetti Jr.||281 (-7)|
|T51||Franco Scorzato||283 (-5)|
|T54||César Costilla||285 (-3)|
|T58||Juan Arozena||288 (par)|
Final-Round Weather: Sunny and clear, with a high of 97.Wind E at 12-19 mph.