Mexico’s Luis Carrera carded his second consecutive five-under-par 67 on Friday to lead the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) by one stroke over Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira after 36 holes at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico.
Carrera trailed by one stroke after the first round but tallied two birdies on his first nine at the 12th and 14th to make the turn at seven-under for the Championship and added three more at the 1st, 2nd and 6th for a bogey-free card and an overall score of ten-under-par.
“It feels good, to be honest,” said the 23-year-old Carrera on his position at the top of the leaderboard. “I’m just enjoying it and I’m not looking a lot at it…The wind picked up a little bit more today than yesterday. I mean, I just had to play some balls with the wind, just trust it, and that was the main thing.”
Last year, Carrera competed in his first LAAC at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course in the Dominican Republic and was inside the top 20 at the midway point of the Championship before struggling with rounds of 76-77 on the weekend. At the time, he spoke of being inspired to try to achieve a second Mexican victory in the event.
“I remember seeing Alvaro Ortiz when he won [in 2019],” said Carrera last year. “I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe what he had done and now here I am and I hope to put myself in a similar situation.”
Last summer, Carrera earned the biggest win of his career at the Canadian Amateur while reuniting with a childhood friend, Rodrigo Peña, who is alongside him as his caddie this week.
“I met him [caddie Rodrigo Peña] when I was 11 years old, and then I didn’t see him for a long time, and then I was playing the Canadian Amateur, and after the third round, he came up to me,” said Carrera, a senior at the University of Central Florida.
“He was a pro at the golf course. We met again, and were like, oh, this is awesome. Nobody was caddying for me at that moment and he asked if I wanted a caddie for the final round. So he caddied for me and he gave me a lot of confidence. He kept me calm and we won the tournament. Going into this week, the Federation asked me if I wanted to bring a caddie and I was like, ‘Wow, sure, this guy.’”