LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — Peruvian Julián Périco shot a second-round 66 on Friday to set a new Latin America Amateur Championship 36-hole record and take the tournament lead by three strokes.
The 22-year-old Perico sits at 9-under at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course, which broke the previous tournament record set by Brazilian André Tourinho during the first LAAC in 2015. This is Perico’s fifth LAAC appearance, and though he’s finished in the top six twice but never won, he’s positioned himself as the favorite to win an automatic bid to the Masters, the Open Championship and the final rounds of U.S. Open qualifying with a victory.
“I feel I am doing things right, particularly my attitude and staying positive on the course,” said Perico, who birdied 11 through 14 and the par-5 18th. “Whenever I had a chance to attack the pin, I went for it. But it was a very clean round. I never forced anything.”
Argentina’s Segundo Oliva Pinto, a teammate of Périco’s at the University of Arkansas, is three strokes behind.
“I was not feeling that good with my game in the morning,” said Oliva Pinto, who had a slow start to Friday’s round but had four birdies on the back nine. “But I was able to keep being aggressive.”
Three more Argentines, including defending champion Abel Gallegos, Vicente Marzilio and Mateo Fernández de Oliveira, are tied for third along with Mexico’s Santiago De La Fuente, Aaron Jarvis from the Cayman Islands and Puerto Ricans Jerónimo Esteve and Roberto Nieves.
“I never thought about being in [this] position,” said the 20-year-old De La Fuente, who is playing his second LAAC. “I am just thinking about playing solid and if it happens, it happens.”
Périco and Oliva Pinto are also joined by Arkansas teammates Fernandez de Oliveira and Colombian Juan Camilo Vesga (4-under) in the top 10.
Only 15 players remain under par after the second round. The tournament cut (+6) leaves the top 53 players heading into weekend play.