Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Jun 09 2024
- 5 MIN
Houston Recap Torque Ortiz STORY image

HUMBLE, Texas - Something in the Texas water clearly suits Torque GC's Carlos Ortiz who was able to celebrate an emotional 'home' victory in front of his family and friends at a sun-baked LIV Golf Houston on Sunday.

While Torque had to settle for a share of fourth place in the team standings, Dallas resident Ortiz outdueled Cleeks GC's Adrian Meronk with a closing round of 5-under 67 at the Golf Club of Houston to triumph by one shot with a 15-under total.

Ortiz kept his scorecard clean with six birdies over the first 17 holes before making his only bogey of the day at the par-4 18th, where he overshot the green with his approach.

"It was in between me and Meronk pretty much," a beaming Ortiz said in the media center after being sprayed with champagne by his team mates on the 18th green. "David (Puig), too, but Meronk mainly on the back nine. It was just a matter of playing solid coming down the stretch.

"There was a switch there on 15 where I made birdie, he made bogey, and I just knew that I had to par in pretty much, and it was mine. That's what I was trying to do. Obviously on 18 I made bogey, but it worked. I love playing here. Obviously Texas treats me well. It's my adopted home state. I'm just happy to get it done again in Houston."

Ortiz, who won his first PGA Tour title at the 2020 Vivint Houston Open, was delighted to have his wife and four children on site for most of the week at the Golf Club of Houston.

"It's truly special to share this with them, and obviously for them to watch me do it, it's special for me," said the 33-year-old from Guadalajara. "I don't know if they'll remember or they care, but it was really special for me that they were able to be there on 18."

Torque, who are still seeking their first team victory this season after winning a league-best four times last year, were surprisingly let down in the final round by their usually very reliable captain Joaquin Niemann, who closed with a 77 to share 32nd place at 3-under. Sebastián Muñoz tied for 15th at 6-under, after carding a 70, and Mito Pereira finished joint 39th at 1-under, after shooting a 71.

Torque made an excellent start to the week with Ortiz firing a 6-under 66, Niemann carding a five-birdie 67 and Muñoz a 69 for the team to end day one in second place at 14-under - three strokes behind the pacesetting Cleeks GC.

On a very hot afternoon in Texas, Ortiz birdied two of his last three holes to finish just one shot off the lead in the individual standings. The other two counting scores came from Niemann, who was tied for sixth, and Muñoz, who shared 15th place.

Niemann, who came into the week on a run of five consecutive top-10s, scrambled perfectly in the opening round, getting up and down to save par five times out of five to keep his scorecard bogey-free.

Ortiz kept the Torque GC flag flying high on day two, firing a five-birdie 68 to end the round in a four-way tie for the lead at 10-under with Crushers GC's Paul Casey, Meronk and Fireballs GC's David Puig.

"I played pretty good all day, and I felt like I was in control," said Ortiz.

The other two counting scores on Saturday came from Niemann, who carded a 69, and Muñoz, who signed for a 71, and Torque ended the day alone in second place at 22-under - four shots behind the Fireballs.

Ortiz continued to flourish in the final round, four birdies in his first eight holes giving him a two-stroke lead over Casey. While Casey fell back with a double at the 12th and a bogey at the 17th, the title came down to a two-horse race between Ortiz and Meronk.

The par-five 15th turned out to be the pivotal hole. Meronk missed the fairway to the left and took an unplayable lie en route to a bogey six while Ortiz birdied there to seize a two-shot advantage.

"I'm really happy the way I played this week," said Ortiz. "I feel like I played solid. I did everything well, and when those things happen, normally good things happen."