Latin America Amateur

Carrera in pole position in Puerto Rico

The R&A
13 Jan 23
3 mins

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. 

Good feelings 

“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.”

Caddie friend

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.’”
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira of Argentina remains in the hunt just one shot back of the lead at nine-under in Puerto Rico.

Chasing pack

Fernandez de Oliveira, one of two top-50 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) competing in the field, sits one stroke back of Carrera at nine-under-par after rounds of 68-67 to begin the Championship. The Argentinian was one of four players to finish runner-up to Aaron Jarvis in 2022, one stroke shy of forcing a playoff. On Friday he carded five birdies and an eagle at the par-5 sixth hole.  “Well, I'm feeling very well; these have been two great days for me,” said Fernandez de Oliveira, a senior at the University of Arkansas who currently ranks 34 in WAGR. “Going out in the leader group going into the weekend feels amazing. I'm just going to try to take advantage of where I am right now and hopefully get it done on Sunday.” Peruvian Julian Perico, a teammate of Fernandez de Oliveira at the University of Arkansas, sits two strokes back of the lead and was inches away from history on Friday. After a  four-under front nine saw him climb into contention, Perico narrowly missed an albatross at the par-5 14th when his approach from 232 yards struck the flagstick and settled inside two feet.  Defending champion Aaron Jarvis sits on two-under-par after a second round 70 today.  The cut fell on three-over-par with the top 50 and ties progressing to the next two rounds.  The champion of the LAAC will receive an invitation to the Masters Tournament in addition to exemptions into the US Open and The Open in 2023.  For more information on the Latin America Amateur Championship, please visit