Matias Dominguez of Chile leads the Latin America Amateur Championship by a single shot from Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti after three rounds at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires.
Dominguez produced a roller-coaster third round of 69 featuring seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. The Chilean began the final day one stroke behind Brazil’s Andre Tourinho, and that remained the case when both men birdied the third hole. But then Dominguez recorded two straight bogeys to fall off the pace.
After two birdies at the start of his back nine, the 22-year-old looked to have steadied the ship, but he was knocked off his stride again with a double-bogey at the par-5 13th. That might have ended his challenge, but he struck back brilliantly with four birdies in his last five holes. A third straight birdie on the 18th, gave the Texas Tech Senior a three-round total of 10-under-par and a one-stroke lead going into the final day.
“The front nine was a slow start for me, it took a while to adapt to the greens,” he said. “But then, the back nine, I had got used to the surfaces and I got on a great roll and gained a lot of confidence. I felt I could make every possible putt.”
Dominguez is looking forward to the challenge of the final round.
“I have developed a good deal of confidence around the golf course,” he said. “I need to keep my mental game in good shape. The key will be to try and focus on something outside of the golf and not dwell too much on what is on the line.”
Home favourite Alejandro Tosti went to the turn in 33 to move back into contention. Then on the 13th he holed a long putt for an eagle three to reach 10-under-par and the top of the leaderboard. A bogey at the 16th pushed him back a stroke, but he signed for a 68 and a clubhouse total of nine-under.
“It’s a really good score,” said the young Argentinian. “The wind was blowing up and it was tough. I drove well and my approach shots were solid. I try to be myself and sometimes have to let off a little steam, which is why I sometimes talk to myself after a bad shot. I just try not to hit my caddy or someone else! I just need to keep going on Sunday and I will see what happens.”
Tosti’s parents have never been on an aeroplane, but the 18-year-old is hoping they might have to in April if he wins here and qualifies for The Masters.
“I felt very good after the 13th hole where I holed an eagle putt, because my mum started crying,” he said. “She just couldn’t believe it and that was very special.”
The winner of this tournament will receive an invitation to the 2015 U.S. Masters. He will also, together with the runner-up or runners-up, earn a place in Final Stage Qualifying for The Open Championship and an exemption to the Amateur Championship. With the involvement of the USGA in the LAAC, the winner of this event will also gain an exemption into the U.S. Amateur Championship and he (and runner(s) up) will be given a place in Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Open.
Andre Tourinho of Brazil who led through 36-holes stumbled somewhat with a third round of 75. He’s now five shots behind Dominguez on five-under-par.
Round of the day came from Gaston Bertinotti of Argentina. He had been one of the joint leaders after round one but dropped way back after a 78 in round two. He bounced back superbly today with a 66. He’s on four-under-par, six shots off the lead.
Latin America Amateur Championship – Round 3 Scores
Pilar Golf, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Par 72, 7,255 yards
1 Matias Dominguez (Chi) 72 65 69 206
2 Alejandro Tosti (Arg) 69 70 68 207
T3 Juan Sebastien Munoz (Col) 69 70 71 210
T3 Joaquin Bonjour (Arg) 69 68 73 210
5 Andre Tourinho (Bra) 70 66 75 211
T6 Gaston Bertinotti (Arg) 68 78 66 212
T6 Alavaro Ortiz (Mex) 68 73 71 212
T6 Santiago Bauni (Arg) 72 68 72 212
T6 Juan Alvarez (Uru) 68 70 74 212
T10 Jose Luis Montano (Bol) 71 73 69 213
T10 Jose Mendez (CRC) 73 68 72 213
T10 Guilermo Pereira (Chi) 71 70 72 213