BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (January 21, 2017) -- Paul Chaplet stormed into the third round lead at the South American Amateur hosted by Martindale Country Club. The 2016 Latin America Amateur winner began the day four off the pace, but rode a hot putter to a 6-under 66 third round tally. He nows sits at 11-under total and two-strokes ahead of the field.
Chaplet, from Costa Rica, began his day with birdies on four of his first five holes and he never slowed down. The Arizona State commit turned in 4-under 32 and kept the peddle to the mettle on the back nine with three more birdies against only one bogey. His final of seven birdies came on the 17th hole. Chaplet is coming off of a tie for 16th finish last week at the Latin America Amateur.
Fernando Cruz Valle and world No. 5 Joaquin Niemann remain deadlocked in second place after they both shot 2-under 70's to reach 9-under.
Cruz Valle of Mexico was 2-over through his first nine holes before flipping the script with a 4-under 32 on the backside. The side started with a birdie and bogey but it was four birdies from Nos. 12-18 that salvaged the round and kept Cruz Valle firmly in the mix.
Chile's Niemann turned in a 2-under 34 front nine and then held on down the stretch. Niemann set the stage for his solid round with birdies on the first two holes.
First and second round leader Marcos Montenegro of Argentina fell to fourth place and at 8-under he will begin the final round three-strokes off the pace. Things could have been a lot worse for Montenegro after a 4-over 40 on the opening nine but a 3-under 33 back nine that included three straight birdies to finish the day kept Montenegro in the picture.
American and 2015 champion Scott Harvey is tied for fifth with Jack Davidson of Wales at 6-under. Harvey turned in a 1-under 71 on Saturday.
Stewart Hagestad fired his first under-par round of the week and moved into a tie for 17th. Hagestad used a 3-under 69 to reach level par for the week.