Maria Olivero Extends Lead at Women's Amateur Latin America Championship
Maria Olivero extended her lead at the top of the leaderboard after another impressive display in the Women’s Amateur Latin America championship presented by The R&A and the ANNIKA Foundation at Pilar Golf.
At the halfway stage of the 72-hole stroke play championship in Argentina, the home player signed for a three-under-par 69 to reach a superb total of ten-under 134 and sits three shots clear of compatriot Ela Anacona.
Despite windier conditions, Olivero – the oldest competitor in the field at the age of 49 – birdied three of her opening seven holes as she quickly built on her two-stroke overnight advantage. Dropped shots at the 10th and 14th were offset by two other back nine birdies at the 12th and 16th.
“I didn’t think it was that windy but I’ve been used to playing in the wind at recent championships,” said Olivero. “I think I now have to keep doing what I’ve done already – be on the fairways and on the greens. That’s the plan so we shall see.
“Yesterday I received messages from many people – from my club, from my family and from people who I don’t know that well also wrote to me. I also saw some media which was very nice. I was everywhere!”
Olivero, who won the Argentine Women’s Stroke Play for the 11th time on Saturday and is a member of the Argentine Golf Association Board of Directors, is the highest-ranked player in her country ahead of Anacona.
The 23-year-old stayed in contention with the leader after recovering from an opening bogey to post four birdies. But the former Argentina Girls’ Junior winner dropped another shot at the 18th to post a 70 and finish on seven-under 137.
She said, “I’m happy. The round today was very hard and we had to think a lot. The strategy was really important as there were some pins that were not that easy.
“I love Maria. She is a great example to us and I look forward to playing with her tomorrow. I’ll do what I can.”
Venezuela’s Vanessa Gilly produced a best-of-the-day round of four-under 68 to surge through the field into third place on six-under 138. Gilly, 21, enjoyed an incredible scoring burst of seven birdies in ten holes from the 4th as she looks to build on her fifth-place finish in the championship last year.
“I’m really happy about how I played today,” remarked Gilly. “I made good decisions with how the pins were in the wind. I kept it simple and was able to make some good putts.
“I’m not going to change my strategy and I just have to play my game as good as I can.
With Maria and Ela tomorrow, I think we’ll probably have a lot of people following us tomorrow as we’re in Argentina. I’m looking forward to it.”
Mexican teenager Sofia Clarisa Temelo Escalera is next best placed on two-under with Agustina Gomez Cisterna from Chile a stroke further back. Defending champion Valentina Rossi, who triumphed with a nine-under-par total last year, sits at two-over.
Gomez Cisterna added, “It was really windy out there, the course was harder than yesterday. The scores today are a little bit higher but my round was pretty good considering the wind.
“Mentally, shooting a lot of rounds under par this year has given me more confidence for this championship and helped prepare me for it. If it’s less windy tomorrow, I’ll try to be more aggressive and go for more pins. I’ll try and get as close as I can at the top going into Saturday.”
A field of 59 talented players representing 13 countries are competing in the third edition of the Women’s Amateur Latin America championship at the venue north of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The champion will play in three major championships next year – the AIG Women’s Open, The Chevron Championship and The Amundi Evian Championship. She will also compete in The Women’s Amateur Championship and The Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex in 2024.
The Women’s Amateur Latin America championship presented by The R&A and the 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.