Weather Steals Spotlight in Round One of Puerto Rico Open

By A.J. Jones

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – On day one of the Puerto Rico open, a welcomed light drizzle of rain began just after 1 p.m. but within a minute it subsided. Closer to 2 p.m. the sky opened and presented the field of players and spectators of the tournament with just enough rain to provide relief from the Caribbean sun that was intensifying, keeping the temperature comfortably in the low 80’s.

Although wind gusts reached 30 miles per hour, the weather did not seem to phase Thursday’s leader, Andrés Romero, who finished the day at 6-under-par 66.  

According to his interpreter, “He says he likes playing in the wind, he always liked playing in the wind, …very tough for everyone, not only for him. So yeah, he has to think a lot more than a regular round because, for example, No. 15, he hit a 6-iron from 150 yards, but yeah, he was playing well and feeling confident so that helped a lot.”

Of the four Puerto Ricans playing in the tournament, including Max Alverio, Jeronimo Esteve, Edward Figueroa and Rafael Campos, Figueroa finished at the top of the group at one-under-par 71. He told El Vocero de Puerto Rico that despite weather conditions, he was satisfied with the way he played and he is looking forward to getting back on the course on Friday.

Figueroa stated, “I’m pleased with it. I feel like I could have done a little bit better. I mean, obviously every round you feel like that but it was tough. I mean, it’s just crazy out here, you know. On the island the conditions change so quickly, so drastically. You’re pretty much playing in a hurricane at one point and then it’s clear and it’s beautiful right now… But I love it. I love every second being out here and the support from everybody… It means a lot to me.

Although the sun, the rain and the wind were mitigating factors in round one of the Puerto Rico Open, the challenging Tom Kite designed Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico offers an adequate amount of shade and spectacular views of the island’s mountains and beaches. Puerto Rico has hosted the tournament for a decade, with a break in 2018 to offer a pro-am which raised funds for Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

This year, the goal is to secure $750,000 in much-needed sports equipment for local youth. With the assistance of supporters from around the world, the forecast for the tournament’s success is bright.