Amateur Leading the Way

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Guillermo Silva of Mexico will head into the weekend looking to become to the first amateur in seven years to win a Canadian Tour event following Fridays second round of the Michelin Guadalajara Classic.
 
The 21-year-old tamed his home course, the Guadalajara Country Club, for a 5-under 66 and sits at 6-under 136 after 36 holes, one shot in front of Canadian David Hearn of Brantford, ON, Rafael Ponce (Ecuador), Carlos Pelaez (Mexico), Julio Zapata (Argentina) and Americans Clint Jensen and Brad Sutterfield. A total of 65 players shot 1-over 143 or better to make the cut. Thirty-two of those players are within four shots of the lead.
 
Silva, who received an exemption into the event, spent two years at Southeastern Louisiana University before returning home last year to finish school in his native land. He admits his schooling is his main focus right now, but he couldnt contain the smile on his face Friday afternoon as he was surrounded by a horde of reporters.
 
This feels real good right now, it is the first time in six or seven professional tournaments that I have been in contention, he said. A lot of these guys playing here are going to be on (the PGA) Tour very soon, so it is great to be at my club, with my people, and be right in the thick of the race.
 
Silva refuses to put any pressure on himself, but instead will welcome the crowds that will be cheering for him this weekend. In fact, he is as surprised as anyone that he shares a spot atop the leaderboard with just 36 holes left to play.
 
To be honest, I hadnt even thought about winning. There is still two more days to go, and I just want to enjoy the atmosphere of being in the chase. If I win, great, but its going to be a fun experience either way.
 
Corral, 26, joined the Canadian Tour in 2001 but had an off year in 2002 and was unable to retain his card. He also received a sponsors exemption into the event and has made the most of the opportunity, carding back-to- back 69s. Since PGA Tour Qualifying School last fall, Corral has played in only two events, citing the need for some time off.
 
I have been inactive for a long time, that was the toughest year as a pro last season, he admitted. It had to step back, re-group and try think of what I wanted. I learned to stop thinking so much about the mechanics of my swing and just start enjoying the game again.
 
This weekend, Corral will see some familiar faces as he attempts to rejoin the Canadian Tour as a tournament champion.
 
Ive played here the past couple of years, and I know how competitive the golf is on this Tour, said Corral. For me to finish strong, I need to close out strong these last two rounds.
 
Hearn, the reigning Canadian Rookie of the Year, finds himself in familiar territory once again this week. In his 2002 rookie season, the 23-year-old had a pair of runner-up showings as well as three other top-ten finishes. Had he not missed three putts inside three feet over the final four holes coming in Friday, it would have been Hearn on the top perch with two days to go.
 
I made up some ground today, and that is all I wanted to do, said Hearn. I gave a few back heading home, so there is still some work to do. But Im there once again, so you never know, this could be the week.
 
Coming off a course record-tying 9-under 62 Thursday, Alex Rocha came back to earth Friday, struggling to a 6-over 77. Afterwards, the Brazilian could only shrug his shoulders at the 15-shot swing.
 
Let me know if you get the number of the truck that hit me out there today, smiled Rocha. That was exactly like yesterday, only on complete opposite ends of the scale. Ill put it behind me and come out Saturday and see what happens.
 

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