RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Colombia’s Mateo Fuenmayer opened with a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead at the Latin American Amateur Championship.
Fuenmayor, a junior at Oregon State, arrived at Grand Reserve Golf Club last week in Ecuador tied for seventh at the South American Open. He dropped one shot on the 12th hole and made seven birdies.
Fuenmayer leads Argentina’s Vicente Marzillion, Chile’s Martin Cancino and Mexico’s Santiago de la Fuente and Luis Carrera by one shot.
The winner receives an invitation to the Masters, and the USGA will grant a free pass to this year’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.
Marzillio and de la Finte are tied for the second time in the Latin American Amateur.
“I think my strength today was my off game,” Fuenmaier said. “Yesterday in practice I put a 2-iron off the tee and I used it almost all day today. I was able to play from the fairway and attack the pin, and then I was able to make a lot of putts. It looks like the hole. Today is huge, I’m not going to lie, but it’s a really good start to the tournament. “
De la Fuente missed last year’s birdie match at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic to force the tournament. That stayed with him.
“All year my team and I have been thinking about this tournament and counting down the days to come back and play for the prize,” De La Fuente said.
Cayman Islands defender Aaron Jarvis opened with 72.