January 16, 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Andre Tourinho of Brazil had eight birdies in his round of 6-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead Friday going into the weekend of the Latin American Amateur with a Masters invitation on the line.

Tourinho was among several players who had an easy time at Pilar Golf Club.

Matias Dominguez of Chile also had eight birdies and tied the course record with a 65. Joaquin Bonjour of Argentina had nine birdies in 14 holes and was in the lead until putting two balls in the water on the 17th hole and making a quadruple bogey.

Tourinho was at 8-under 136, one shot head of Dominguez and Bonjour.

The inaugural Latin American Amateur is patterned after the Asia-Pacific Amateur. The winner gets a spot in the Masters in April and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open. He also gets into the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur.

''I actually hit the ball better yesterday,'' said Tourinho, a 24-year-old who graduated from Tulsa in 2012 and is a two-time winner of the Brazilian Amateur. ''Today, I chipped in twice and putted really well.''

One of those chip-ins was on the par-3 eighth hole, where a new tee was used to make it play 95 yards. That led to the first ace of the tournament by Nicolas Echavarria of Colombia, who used a 58-degree wedge and watched it spin back into the hole.

Dominguez became the fifth player to shoot 65 at Pilar, a group that includes former Masters and U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera in the 2006 Argentine Open. Pilar was a par 71 in those events. Dominguez, a senior at Texas Tech, was the first to post 7 under for a round.

The cut was at 8-over 152, and 62 players advanced to the final two rounds.

The Latin American Amateur is for players from South America, Central America and Caribbean countries. Of the top 14 players on the leaderboard, three were from Argentina, three were from Chili and three were from Costa Rica, with one each from Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay.

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