CASA DE CAMPO, Dominican Republic (January 14, 2016) -- The first round of the 2016 Latin America Amateur is in the books, and two players are tied at the top after posting rounds of 4-under 68 at Casa de Campo.
Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz started his round with a 1-under 35 on the front nine, then recorded back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th holes to start his bogey free back nine. A birdie on the last was icing on the cake for Ortiz.
Jose Andres Miranda of Ecuador did Ortiz one better on the back nine. After an even par front, he birdied 12, 14, 16, and 18 against no bogeys for a fine 32, putting vaulting him into a tie for the lead.
Among the three players tied for third at 69 is one player who could teach all of us a lesson in resiliency. Faced with the worst of possible starts -- a triple bogey 7 on the par-4 first hole -- Erick Juan Morales of Puerto Rico reached in deep to find something.
And boy did he.
Seven birdies (yup, the guy that started with a triple made seven birdies) against a single bogey gave Morales not only a 69, but the knowledge if he had just managed a bogey on the first hole he would be the sole leader. Morales is tied for third with Raul Pereda de la Huerto (Mexico) and Daniel Kenji Ishii (Brazil).
Chilean golfer Matias Dominguez, the defending champion of 2015's inaugural event, posted a solid start with a 1-under 71. In 2015, Dominguez earned a Masters invitation and posted a pair of 76's to miss the cut at 8-over.
He did, however, eagle the 13th hole the second day, and in the "you might not know this department" he earned a pair of crystal goblets.