Linus Lilliedahl’s only bogey in his first round came at No. 14, when he missed the green and didn’t get up and down. A year ago, Lilliedahl tied for 59th, and he played No. 14 in 1-over for the week. Conversely, he was a cumulative 3-over on Nos. 1-4 a year ago, holes he played in 3-under Thursday.
In the last two months, Raúl Pereda went from looking like he would have a good chance to advance to the final stage of the Korn Ferry Qualifying Tournament when he was in solid position through 54 holes in Murrieta, California. A final-round 78 kept him from advancing. The Veracruz, Mexico, native who played college golf at Jacksonville University, then traveled to Spain and was again in solid position through 54 holes to earn membership. At the second-stage event at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Alicante, Spain, Pereda started the final round with a triple bogey followed by a bogey, shot a 2-over 73 and ended up not advancing to the finals by a shot. Following that disappointment, Pereda returned to his native Mexico and won the co-sanctioned Dev Series-Mexican Tour’s Copa Multimedios, rolling to a 10-stroke triumph over Korn Ferry Tour member Joel Thelen and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Rafael Becker in Monterrey in early November.
Chris Crawford opened with a 3-under 69 and said his strategy was to use the par-5 as his scoring/birdie holes. But he began his round on a solid note when he birdied the par-4 second hole. “It was hard to birdie a lot of other holes. The one on (No.) 2 was a bonus. The pin was in the front in a bowl section. I hit an 8-iron to maybe 13 feet and made the putt. It was nice to get off to a good start. That’s not a hole you think about making birdie on,” he said.
In 2012 and 2013, Zach Potter played 16 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments, making only two cuts. He hasn’t played since, with 3,308 days between starts and 135 tournaments taking place without him. Potter has played on no other PGA TOUR-affiliated Tours. Thursday, he made his 17th career start, shooting a round in the 60s for the first time. He opened with a 3-under 69. His previous-low score was a second-round 70 at the 2013 Colombia Classic.
Defending champion Jorge Fernández Valdés fired a 1-over 73 in defense of his title. He is tied for 48th, six shots behind Linus Lilliedahl.
Of the players who tied for 10th or better a year ago at the 115th playing of the Visa Argentine Open, the top-two players from that group are Argentina’s Alan Wagner and the U.S.’s Chandler Blanchet. They both shot 2-under 70s and are tied for 14th through 18 holes. The other players’ scores range from 71 (Nicolo Galletti) to 83 (Rak Cho). Camilo Aguado and Tano Goya (together tied for fourth in 2021) and Hayden Springer (tied for 10th) are not playing this year.
Peyton Wilhoit earned his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica membership at the Country Club of Ocala’s Qualifying Tournament in early November, tying for 15th. In his inaugural PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament appearance, he opened with a 68 Thursday and is tied for second in only his second PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour start. He missed the cut at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship seven months ago. Wilhoit played his college golf at Southern Illinois University.
Chile’s Cristobal Del Solar had a first-round stroke average of 68.42 a year ago on his way to a second-place finish in the Totalplay Cup? The current Korn Ferry Tour member, who is waiting for that season to begin, has shot first-round, under-par rounds in nine of his last 10 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments. He opened this week with a 3-under 69.
Three consecutive putts kept Peyton Wilhoit’s round going Thursday. He made a 10-foot par putt on No. 11, birdied the 12th hole with a 15-foot make then replicated that putt from the same distance, on No. 13, but this time for an eagle. That got Wilhoit to 6-under for the day before he closed with four pars and a double bogey-5 on the 16th that left him at 4-under.
Of the four Qualifying Tournaments medalists from November, only three are playing this week, with Austin Squires (medalist at Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida) taking a two-week break to get married and go on his honeymoon. David Laskin (Ocala, Florida) and Puma Dominguez (Buenos Aires, Argentina) shot opening 71s and are tied for 24th. Ollie Osborne (Mazatlan, Mexico) shot a 75 Thursday (tied for 80th).
Michael Garden of the U.S. withdrew from the tournament following his first round due to illness. He shot a 1-over 73.
There are seven amateurs playing this week, all from Argentina. Here is how they performed and where they stand through 18 holes: