Costa Rica's Alvaro E. Ortiz leads Latin America Amateur

PANAMA CITY — Costa Rica's Alvaro E. Ortiz shot a 4-under 66 on Friday to take the second-round lead in the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The winner Sunday will receive an exemption to the Masters and spots in the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.

The 48-year-old Ortiz, a 25-time Costa Rican national champion, had a 3-under 137 total at Panama Golf Club.

"I played very smart," said Ortiz, who played at Texas Wesleyan and works in real estate. "I'm old enough to know where my weaknesses are and where my strengths are. I only made one mistake, a three-putt on No. 9, so I'm very happy."

Alejandro Villavicencio, a reinstated amateur from Guatemala, was a stroke back along with

Brazil's Herik Machado. Villavicencio shot a 73, and Machado had a 67.

Julian Perico, the 17-year-old from Peru who opened with a tournament-record 64, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fourth with Bolivia's Jose Luis Montano (72) at 1 under.

Defending champion Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica was tied for 28th at 6 over after a 75.

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