Vega takes 2-shot lead in Latin American Amateur

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Jose Vega of Colombia withstood another tough day of wind Saturday at Mayakoba for a 1-over 72 that gave him a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Latin American Amateur Championship.

At stake for the 26-year-old Vega is a spot in the Masters at Augusta National in April and in the British Open at Royal St. George’s in July.

Despite a bogey on the final hole at El Camaleon Golf Club, Vega remained the only player under par from the 52 players who made the cut.

He was at 2-under 211.

Abel Gallegos birdied his last two holes for a 70. He was at even-par 213.

Gabriel Morgan Birke of Chile and Ivan Camilo Ramirez of Colombia, who led after the opening round, were tied for third at 3-over 216.

Vega is a regional sales director for Trackman, the sonar-based device used by top professionals around the world.

Along with spots in two majors, the winner is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and exempt for any USGA amateur event for which he is eligible.

“When I step up on the first tee tomorrow, it’s going to be a grind,” Vega said. “The one that is going to take the trophy home is the one that makes fewer mistakes.”

Gallegos is a 17-year-old from a small town outside Buenos Aires that has only a nine-hole course. He still was named junior golfer of the year in 2019 for Argentina. This is his first appearance in the Latin American Amateur.

“My goal was to have a chance on Sunday,” Gallegos said. “I think I fulfilled that. Now I just need to trust myself."

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