Mexico’s Luis Carrera Leads Latin America Amateur Championship

Luis Carrera of Mexico fired a second straight 67 to take the 36-hole lead in the eighth Latin America Amateur Championship in Puerto Rico.

Luis Carrera
Luis Carrera of Mexico leads the LAAC at halfway
(Image credit: LAAC)

Mexico’s Luis Carrera posted a blemish free 67 to claim the halfway lead in the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) at the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico.

Carrera came flying out of the blocks on Friday, birdieing his first two holes to reach seven-under-par. He made further gains at the 6th, 12th and 14th holes to card a second consecutive 67 and reach 10-under-par for the tournament. He’s a shot clear of Argentina’s Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira.

“It feels good. I have stayed patient and made some putts,” said Carrera. “Yesterday I didn’t get off to a good start but today was more smooth. The wind was tough but I played well and trusted my game.”

Winner of last year’s Canadian Amateur Championship, Carrera is currently 383rd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“Yeah, I got a lot of confidence winning the Canadian Amateur,” he said. “I know now in pressure situations that I can do it. You have to have four good rounds in this event though so I’m not getting ahead of myself.”

Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira

Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira

(Image credit: LAAC)

Argentina’s Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira also posted a second round of 67. That followed an opening 68 and he’s a shot off the lead. His round included five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.

“I think my mental game was strong today,” he said. “I had a couple of tough breaks with mud balls that really sent me off line but I got past those well and I chipped in for eagle on the sixth, so that helped a lot.”

Julian Perico

Julian Perico

(Image credit: LAAC)

Fernandez de Oliveira was playing with Julian Perico of Peru who shot a round of the day 66 to reach eight-under-par. The 23-year-old goes into the weekend in third place. Perico is playing in his sixth LAAC and has finished in the top-10 on three occasions.

“It feels great to play well again,” he said. “This is my last one and I just want to have fun, I’m more calm, and I’m hitting good shots so I feel good and it’s nice to be in the mix. I think I’m more mature now and I’ve lost a few chances in this event in the past so I hope I’ve learned from those.”

Perico almost made an albatross on the par-5 14th hole. He hit a four-iron that homed in on the pin, it struck the middle of the stick and very nearly dropped in for a two.

“Yes, I held it up against the wind and I knew it was good,” he said. “I was trying to make a four but a three was a nice bonus. A two would have been unreal!”

The scoring at Grand Reserve GC has been impressive and 27 players are currently under par. The cut came at +3.

At the halfway stage the leaders will be starting to think of the incredible prizes on offer for the champion and the runners-up in the LAAC.

The LAAC champion will receive an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club and will automatically qualify for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool. For the first time, the winner will also earn a spot in the US Open, held this year at Los Angeles Country Club.

The winner also receives full exemptions into The 128th Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible.

Runner(s)-up will be exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The 151st Open and the 123rd U.S. Open Championship.

Previous champions of the LAAC include Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?