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  • Stuart Moffatt

Maria Jose Marin Posts Low Round Record To Jointly Lead The Women's Amateur Latin America

María José Marín of Colombia fired a record seven-under-par 65 to hold the joint lead with Venezuela’s Vanessa Gilly in the Women’s Amateur Latin America championship presented by The R&A and ANNIKA Foundation.

Blustery conditions continued to dominate the championship, which is being played over the Blue and White course at Pilar Golf, but the duo maintained their composure to finish the second round today on a six-under-par total of 138.

Marín, the top ranked player in the field (number 61, WAGR®), set the record low round for the championship in a dazzling display of golf that featured three birdies on the front nine followed by a run of four birdies in row from the turn and an eagle 2 at the 14th hole.

“I got off to a really solid start to today’s round with birdie-par and that really gave me confidence,” said Marin. “I remained calm throughout the round and of course, I was really happy to make those birdies and eagle on the back nine.”

The 16-year-old, who has already won a string of national and continental events this year, is aiming to better her runner-up finish in last year’s championship, which was won by compatriot Valery Plata.

“I learned a lot from last year’s final round and tournament and think I can do well again this year. I don’t feel the pressure of being the top ranked player and just play my own game. I’m happy to be leading the championship.”

Gilly also impressed after carding a five-under-par round of 67 which included seven birdies.

The Venezuelan arrived in Argentina already having won the national amateur and match play championships in her own country and picked up momentum early in the round with three birdies in a row from the 4th hole.

Despite giving one shot back at the 8th with a bogey, the 20-year-old responded with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 16th to finish the round strongly.

“I played a really good round today,” said Gilly. “I was happy with my shots off the tee and my approach play which gave me good opportunities to make birdies. That made things a lot easier in what were tough conditions with the wind.

“I like the pressure of being in contention for a championship and it shows me that the hard work is paying off. I am going to go out there, enjoy it and stick to the way I played today. I have to take things shot by shot and focus on what I can control.”

Mexico’s Ana Isabel González Cantu is two shots further back on a four-under-par total of 140 following a round of 69 which featured four birdies. The only blemish on her card was a bogey 5 that came at the 4th hole.

“It was a very solid round for me today and I’m pleased to have shot three-under in windy conditions,” said González Cantu. “I managed to keep the ball low and make less mistakes than yesterday which was obviously good for me, as well as making a few birdies.”

Overnight leader Ximena Benites of Peru recovered from a difficult start in which she dropped three shots in two holes on the 2nd and 3rd by picking up birdies on 7th, 11th, 13th and 14th to shoot level-par 72 for the round.

She remains on a two-under-par total of 142 for the championship alongside home hope Valentina Rossi, who shot a one-under-par 71 in today’s round.

The Women’s Amateur Latin America championship presented by The R&A and ANNIKA Foundation follows the successful introduction of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship by The R&A in 2018. Its aim is to strengthen the pathway to the very highest levels of golf by providing a platform for the region’s best women’s amateur golfers to compete against each other.

The winner of the Women’s Amateur Latin America championship will earn exemptions into three major championships, including the AIG Women’s Open, Amundi Evian Championship and The Chevron Championship, as well as the Women’s Amateur Championship and the Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex.

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