After a third round of 69 Gaston Bertinotti of Argentina leads the Latin America Amateur Championship by a shot from Jorge Garcia of Venezuela.

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Gaston Bertinotti holed a fantastic birdie putt on the final green at Casa de Campo to put an exclamation point on an excellent round of 69. The Argentinian has had just one bogey in his last 36 holes and, at five-under-par, he carries a one stroke lead into round four of the Latin America Amateur Championship.

“It was a great putt at the last hole. My caddy saw the line, I agreed and it went in. A lot of emotion came to me then. But I have to remember this is a four round tournament not three,” he said. “It would be awesome to win but we still have to play 18 more holes and that’s what I have to focus on.”

With 16 players within seven shots of the lead, it’s still all to play for at Casa de Campo and Bertinotti is sure to face strong competition tomorrow.

Jorge Garcia of Venezuela also produced a fine 69 today. His round included three birdies and no bogeys. With challenging pin positions and a testing wind, scoring was more difficult than in the first two days and Garcia was one of only four players to break 70 today – the others were: Bertinotti, Manuel Torres of Venezuela and Herik Machado of Brazil.

“I showed a lot of determination today. I want to compete tomorrow and I gave myself a lot of chances, I enjoyed it,” Garcia said. “I took some time off in Venezuela before this and I have been very relaxed. I’ve struck the ball well and I just need some more putts to drop. To play at The Masters would mean the world to me. I just have to stay patient.”

Last year’s runner-up Alejandro Tosti of Argentina was three-over for his round after nine holes, but he battled back well to end the day at three-under-par for the tournament, just two behind Bertinotti.

Overnight leader Nicolas Echavarria had a tough day. The Colombian struggled to a five-over-par 77 but is still only three shots off the pace at two-under-par.

16-year-old Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica reached five-under after an eagle at the 14th, but he then suffered a triple-bogey at the next hole and dropped another shot at the 17th. Still, at one-under-par for the tournament he still has a chance of victory and to secure the incredible prizes that come with it.

The winner of this tournament will receive an invitation to the 2016 U.S. Masters. He will also earn an exemption into The Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl and to any USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible (including the US Amateur.) The winner and runner(s) up gain an exemption to Final Qualifying for The Open Championship at Royal Troon and final stage qualifying for the US Open at Oakmont CC.

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Latin America Amateur Championship – Round 3 scores
Teeth of the Dog course, Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
Par 72, 7,274 yards

1    Gaston Bertinotti (Arg)        75    67    69    211
2    Jorge Garcia (Ven)        71    72    69    212
3    Alejandro Tosti (Arg)        75    65    73    213
4    Nicolas Echavarria (Col)    72    65    77    214
T5    Manuel Torres (Ven)        73    74    68    215
T5    Paul Chaplet (CRC)        73    71    71    215
T5    Jesus Dario Montenegro (Arg) 72    71    72    215
T8    Joaquin Niemann (Chi)        73    71    72    216
T8    Raul Pereda de la Huerta (Mex) 69    74    73    216