LA ROMANA, Dominican Republican – Nicolas Echavarria and Alejandro Tosti each hit a tee shot out of bounds and made double bogey on the 17th hole Friday at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course.
That was their only miscue during matching 7-under 65s that pushed them to the top of the leaderboard at the Latin America Amateur Championship.
Echavarria, of Colombia, made seven birdies and an eagle to erase the mistake on No. 17 – a 419-yard hole that doglegs right and plays into the wind, with a narrow green, out of bounds left and the Caribbean Sea down the right.
Echavarria leads at 7-under 137, three shots clear of Tosti, who carded nine birdies and improved by 10 shots on Day 2.
The winner here receives an invitation to the Masters, and both the champion and runner-up will be exempt into the final stage of U.S. Open and Open Championship qualifying.
“There is where anyone wants to be,” said Echavarria, a senior at Arkansas, “but there’s still a lot of golf yet to play.”
Only 10 players are under par after 36 holes, and only two other players are within five shots of Echavarria’s lead. Bolivia’s Jose Luis Montana is four back after a 69 Friday.
Defending champion Matias Dominguez is six shots behind, at 1-under 143. Tied for the lead late in his round, he double-bogeyed the par-3 seventh hole and dropped another shot on No. 8.
The cut for the low 50 and ties fell at 6-over 150.