Segundo Oliva Pinto stayed true to his course plan on Wednesday in the opening round of the Monroe Invitational, surging his way atop the leaderboard after carding a 64 (-6). The Cordoba, Argentina native opened with five birdies on the back nine to send a message to the field, before finishing the front -1.
In all, 10 players of the 82-person field finished the day under par. Davis Lamb, who attends Notre Dame University, and Jack Crosby (Furman University) sit in a tie for second place after shooting scores of 3-under 67.
Oliva Pinto, entering his sophomore year at UNC Wilmington, birdied the 11th and 12th holes to begin the championship with some momentum. “On the back, if you keep it in the fairway you are going to have a lot of short shots in,” said Oliva Pinto following his outing. “I used my 2-iron today and my short game was working for me which was a great combination.”
That short game, which proved to be deadly throughout the first round, had been causing Oliva Pinto frustrations as of late – so much so, that he decided to switch up his grip two days ago. “I knew I had some weapons to begin the round after switching up my putting grip.” “My short game was really on and gave me a lot of confidence.”
Following the 5-under opening nine, Oliva Pinto began the front with a birdie, before stringing together six-straight pars. The wind proved to be a factor off the tee on the front making it harder for Oliva Pinto to score birdies using the 2-iron. However, he was able to find a birdie on the par-3 eighth before suffering his only card blemish of the round with a bogey-6 on the ninth.
Despite the bogey, the first-round leader launched his lowest round of the year with the 64. Back in October of 2018, Oliva Pinto shot a 5-under 66 at the ODU/OBX Collegiate Invitational while playing at UNC Wilmington.
Logan McAllister, set to be a sophomore at Oklahoma University, had one-of-two eagles on the par-5 12th. He is in a tie for fourth at -2.
Chris Blyth, a 2015 graduate of St. John Fisher College and Pittsford native, shot a 72 (+2).