LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — We’ve heard of rules officials getting on golfers for playing too slowly. But for playing too fast?
To be fair, R&A director of rules Grant Moir wasn’t upset with the fact that Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz was trying to speed things up during Saturday’s third round of the Latin America Amateur after Ortiz’s threesome had been put on the clock early on the back nine at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course. But when Ortiz began playing essentially half a hole ahead of Luis Fernando Barco and Juan Cayro Delgado, the other two players in the day’s final threesome, Moir, the rules official following the final few groups, decided to speak briefly with Ortiz about getting too far ahead of his playing partners.
After putting out on the 12th hole, Ortiz went ahead to the 13th tee, leaving Barco and Delgado to finish out on the green. (He had done the same thing on the 12th tee.) Ortiz then hit his drive on No. 13 and started walking down the fairway before Barco and Delgado had gotten to the tee. Then, having already hit his approach shot, Ortiz was already waiting near the 13th green as Barco and Delgado hit their second shots. That’s when Moir approached Ortiz.
“He kind of had to come on to the green and told me to slow down a little bit,” Ortiz said. “I was just playing too fast.”
“It’s a difficult situation,” Moir explained. “You know he just wants to help the group get back into position.”
It didn’t help that Ortiz was atop the leader board (as was Barco) at the time and nervous about the potential for a penalty for slow play.
Suffice it to say, Ortiz’s pushing seemed to pay off. The group returned to position and was taken off the clock on the 15th hole, and was fine the remainder of the round. And Ortiz finished with a birdie on the 18th to post a two-under 70 and take a one-stroke lead over Barco and Chile’s Agustin Errazuriz heading into Sunday’s final round.