YUCATAN, Mexico – Arkansas men’s golf junior-to-be Nicolas Echavarria put the final touches on a dominating performance at the 2014 Mexican Amateur on Sunday, carding a final round seven-under 65 for a 12-stroke win at the four-day event held at Yucatan Country Club.
Just three players in the field – which was trimmed to 62 after 36 holes – finished under-par while Echavarria’s four straight rounds in the red resulted in him finishing the 72 holes at 16-under. Over the four days, Echavarria carded a staggering 27 birdies while taking full advantage of the course’s par 5s at 12-under.
“Everything was working for me this week,” said Echavarria. “I played crazy good to be honest and it feels really good to start my summer off like this.”
A native of Medellin, Colombia, Echavarria led the tournament from start to finish, setting the tone with a first round three-under 69 and a second round four-under 68 that resulted in a two-stroke lead through 36 holes. Only weather could stop Echavarria, as he walked off the course on Saturday with an eight-stroke lead and just two holes remaining in his third round in which he was six-under at that point. After an uncharacteristic bogey and triple-bogey to finish his third round early Sunday morning, Echavarria fired back with lowest round of the tournament, a seven-under 65.
Echavarria is coming off a sophomore season in which he finished with a solid 73.7 stroke average, but was at his best during postseason play. At the SEC Championships – the first of his career – Echavarria was Arkansas’ top finisher in a tie for 13th place and backed it up two weeks later at the NCAA Columbia Regional with a sixth-place showing. In five career starts in postseason action (SEC, NCAA Regional, NCAA Championships), Echavarria has finished in the top 15 four times, highlighted by a tie for 13th at the 2013 NCAA Championships that earned him All-American honors.
Incoming Arkansas freshman Alvaro Ortiz also turned in a strong showing, tying for eighth place to give the Razorbacks two players in the top 10. Ortiz put together rounds of 73-73-72-73, carding eight of his 13 birdies over the final two rounds.
Echavarria’s win at the 2014 Mexican Amateur was part of a great day for the program, as 2013 graduate Austin Cook finished in a tie for 13th overall at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in his PGA Tour debut. If not good enough, Cook played the final two rounds with former teammate and former roommate David Lingmerth, who made his third straight cut in the last three weeks.
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