2014 Rex Hospital Open: Ortiz, Knost shoot 64 to lead after first round

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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Peter Koutroumpis – editor@trianglesportsnet.com

RALEIGH, N.C. – The hottest player on the Web.com Tour continued to sizzle as rookie Carlos Ortiz carded a 7-under par 64 early in the day to lead opening-round play in the 2014 Rex Hospital Open played at TPC at Wakefield Plantation.

Seven-year Tour veteran Colt Knost matched Ortiz with his own 64 near the end of the day as both golfers had nothing but great things to say about the course layout that played to their strengths.

“A great track – the best one we’ve played all year,” Ortiz, the Tour’s money leader, said.

“I really liked it. The greens are in great shape. The golf course overall is in great shape. It was pretty fun out there. I was hitting pretty much every green, just being patient.”

Ortiz hit 17 of 18 greens throughout his round and finished with 28 total putts, while Knost, a former U.S. Amateur, U.S. Public Links, and Walker Cup champion, put his ball in play off the tee box throughout his round, hitting 16 of 18 greens and allowing him to sink 27 total putts to also sit atop the leaderboard.

“I played pretty solid all day,” Knost said.

“I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. I hit a few close and made a lot of really nice putts. I’ve been playin’ pretty solid all year. I got it goin’ and today the putter heated up and I hope to continue that the rest of the week.”

Max Homa, a first-time Tour winner last weekend at the Web.com Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am trailed both players by only one stroke, ending his round at 6-under par (65).

“I hit my irons really well,” Homa said.

“I didn’t really get off the tee to great. I’m gonna’ clean that up a little bit, but I didn’t really put myself in too many bad spots.”

Following right behind those three, Steve Wheatcroft and Steve Allan finished at 5-under (66) as the field ended the day with 20-plus players within one to four shots behind the leaders.

Understandably, Ortiz and Knost appreciated what they were able to do on a course they hadn’t played before and looked forward to their second round of play on it.

“I just like to go out there and have fun – hit greens and fairways,” Ortiz said.

“I like it a lot,” Knolst said.

“The greens are really, really good – they’re really quick. You hit some good putts, they’re gonna’ go in.”