Julian Perico tees off in the second round of the Latin America Amateur (photo: LAACgolf.com)
is the leader at the halfway point of the Latin America Amateur after an excellent 66.
It was a record-breaking day for Peru's Perico at the Teeth of the Dog; his score of 9-under set a new mark as the lowest 36-hole score in the tournament's history.
Accuracy, patience, and a hot putter have been been a lethal trio for Perico.
“I drove it great. I kept the ball in front of me. I was patient,” Perico said following his round. “Wherever a pin was tucked I just hit it to 25 feet and tried to lag it up there. Whenever I had good numbers I was able to attack some pins.”
Perico, a senior at Arkansas, closed with an impressive 31 on his back nine, which included jarring some long putts following his patient approach shots. He birdied four straight holes from 11-15 and sprinkled in two more birdies on holes two and eighteen. Over the opening two eliminated bogeys, in contrast to the three he made in the first round.
“I birdied 11, 12, 13, 14. Whenever I had a chance to attack the pin, I went for it. But it was a very clean round, I never forced anything,” said Perico.
The previous 36-hole scoring record belonged to Andre Tourinho
, who was 8 under in 2015; he went on to finish in a tie for third place. Perico is no stranger to the top of the LAAC leaderboard. He has finished in the top-six two previous times, but he has quite a fight ahead of him judging by the talent lining up to chase him down this weekend.
Sitting in second place three shots behind Perico is fellow Razorback Segundo Oliva Pinto
who cooled off after his opening 66 on Thursday. Oliva Pinto’s second round scorecard was less tidy than his opening round. He bogeyed three of the opening four holes en route to a 39. He bounced back with birdies on 11, 12, 14, and 15 to balance out his four bogeys.
“I guess I was not feeling that good with my game in the morning," Oliva Pinto said after his 72. "But I was able to keep being aggressive and make a couple of birdies on the back nine. We have two tough days ahead of us. I am sure we are going to enjoy them and see who the best of the field is.”
A cadre of players sits at 5-under par including 2019 LAAC champion Abel Gallegos
who has played two steady rounds of 70 and 69 to this point. The appearance of a Cayman Islands flag on the leaderboard might catch the eyes of spectators, but UNLV's Aaron Jarvis
is representing the Cayman Islands well. His 69 shot him up the leaderboard and into the mix. He'll start the third round at 5-under.
Santiago De La Fuente
, a sophomore at Arkansas Tech, is another player that played his way up the leaderboard in round two. He fired a 67, scattering six birdies throughout his round in a consistent effort.
After making seven birdies and grabbing a share of the first-round lead, Roberto Nieves
also sits at 5 under. He shot a 73, unable to build on the momentum that spurred him forward in his opening round.
Overall, the Argentinian contingent has enjoyed the most success as a country. Eight players made the cut. There is a preponderance of Argentinian players in the top 8. Joining Oliva Pinto and Gallegos, are Vicente Marzilio
, who is also at 5 under, and lMateo Fernandez de Oliveira
, who is in a group of six players tied for eighth place at 3 under. The nation with the second most weekend competitors is Mexico with five players.
The Teeth of the Dog has proved a tough challenge for the entire field. The cut was made at 6 over and of the 102 players in the field, only 15 are under par. In the second round the Teeth of the Dog relinquished just four rounds in the 60s and 10 rounds under par.
The tension will only increase over the final 36 holes.
“I’m trying to do this as long as I can. I’m trying to play the PGA Tour and play the majors.” Julian Perico said to John Sutcliffe. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and enjoy it. I’m having a blast, and it’s hard to not have a blast at this place. But playing well helps.”
The field will be trying to chase down Perico on moving day in hopes of setting themselves up for a memorable Sunday at Casa de Campos.
ABOUT THE Latin America Amateur
Founded by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and
the USGA, the LAAC was established to further
develop amateur golf in South America, Central
America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The LAAC is a
72-hole stroke play event open to a field of 108
amateur players in Latin America, chosen by their
respective national federations according to their
World Amateur Golf Ranking. Past winners of the
championship, as well as last year’s top-five
finishers, are automatically entered into this year’s
The LAAC champion annually receives an invitation
to compete in the Masters at Augusta National Golf
Club, and the the British Open Championship. In
addition, the winner and the runner(s)-up
are exempt into the final stages of qualifying for the
US Open Championship. The
is also awarded full exemptions into The Amateur
Championship, the US Amateur Championship and
any other USGA amateur championship for which he
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