Guerra fires a 65, shares halfway-lead with Navarro
January 29, 2020
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- January 29, 2020
- Guerra, 22, graduated from Nova Southeastern University, a Division II school, in May of last year and turned pro in October. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Juan José Guerra of the Dominican Republic fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to charge to the top of the leaderboard at the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament Argentina. Guerra moved to 8-under 136, joining Felipe Navarro of Brazil in a tie for the 36-hole lead. In a duo of co-leaders after an opening 67, Navarro finished birdie-birdie for a 69 that kept his grasp of the lead.
Matías Lescano of Argentina made eagle on 18 to make it back-to-back 69s and claim sole possession of the third spot, where he trails the leaders by two. Another stroke further back, his countrymen Maxi Godoy, Facundo Villanueva and Oreste Focaccia join Horacio León of Chile in a tie for the fourth spot. Focaccia entered the day tied for the lead with Navarro but posted a 72 Wednesday to slip down the leaderboard at Cañuelas Golf Club.
Following a disappointing 76 in his first round as a professional Tuesday, Aaron Terrazas of Mexico had an impressive comeback. He went bogey-free for a tournament low, 8-under 64 that took him inside the top 10. Terrazas entered the day in a tie for 45th but now joins his fellow countrymen Alejandro Villasana and Alvaro Ortiz in a tie for eighth, at 4-under.
“The front-nine on this course suits me really well. The fairways are wider and I can hit the driver a lot more,” said Guerra, 22. “I struck the ball nicely yesterday, but I didn’t make any putts on that side, making only one birdie and eight pars. Today I got off to a solid start, and then I was able to keep a good pace. I knew I would have a chance today, I had it rolling well and fortunately a few went in.”
Guerra’s start was far from perfect. After hitting a snap hook off the tee on No. 1, he found his ball under a tree but managed to hit it to within 25 feet of the hole and sank a birdie putt that set the tone for the day. He went on to make five birdies over the first seven holes, at Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7.
“I struck the ball solid. I hit it where I needed to, and (I) had good looks on most of my putts. Whenever I had a long one, it was uphill. I had a good feel on the greens,” said the Nova Southeastern University alum who turned pro last October.
On the back nine, which is narrower and plays tougher for him, Guerra collected birdies on 13 and 18 to keep a clean card.
In order to remain in the lead for the second consecutive day, Navarro had a bit of a battle. “It was tough out there today,” said the 29-year old, who followed a bogey on No. 5 with birdies on seven and nine to make the turn at 1-under. “It was a struggle right from the beginning. I was 1-over when I got to the tee on six, but I was able to recover by the end of the front-nine. On the back nine it was windy, and we had a little bit of rain, so I had to stay patient and wait for the birdies to come.”Navarro on Wednesday at Cañuelas Golf Club. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
The Brazilian followed a birdie on 12 with a bogey on 13 before closing with consecutive birdies on 17 and 18. “It was a good day’s work,” added Navarro. “Now, I have to rest well and remain focused on the task ahead. You have to keep working hard.”
On Thursday morning, Guerra and Navarro will be joined by Lescano in the last group. They are scheduled to start the third round at 10:09 a.m., local time.
Did you know that Juan José Guerra is one of only three amateurs to hold the lead at a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event? He did it at last year’s Puerto Plata Open, a tournament where he opened with a 63 to lead by three shots over five professionals. Guerra went on to add rounds of 75-73-68 to finish the week in a tie for 23rd at Playa Dorada Golf Course in the Dominican Republic.
Those players competing at this final qualifier, which is open only to Latin American players, are looking to secure PGA TOUR Latinoamérica status for the 2020 season. Below is a breakdown of the various rewards players can earn this week:
2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Status
Exempt for the entire season
2nd through 12th (no ties)
Fully exempt for the first half of the season
13th through 35th (plus ties)
Conditionally exempt for the first half of the season
With Argentina’s amateur Horacio Carbonetti Jr., withdrawing Wednesday, the field is down to 85 players heading into the final 36 holes.
There are four amateurs left in the field this week. They are led by Argentina’s Hernán Kranevitter, who is tied for 40th following consecutive 74s. The others are fellow countrymen Matías Gramajo (70-79), Pablo Nahmías (76-74) and Brazil’s Thor Salen (77-79).
There were 23 rounds under par Wednesday, up from 20 Tuesday. The scoring average went down from 73.37 to 72.51 at the par-72 Cañuelas Golf Club.
After none in the opening day, there were four bogey-free rounds Wednesday—by Aaron Terrazas (64), Juan José Guerra (65), Herik Machado (68) and Rafael Guerrero (69).
The three players who recorded an eagle at the par-5 No. 18 Wednesday were able to move inside the top 10. Those players were Matías Lescano (solo third), Facundo Villanueva (tied for fourth) and Aaron Terrazas (tied for eighth).
“(Last year) I played the Korn Ferry (Tour) Q-School and made it to second stage. I learned a lot about my game and how to handle the pressure. I had never before played under such much pressure as I did at second stage, and I feel that I handled it relatively well. I’m trying to apply what I learned that week at this Q-School.”—Juan José Guerra
“That 3 on 18 (was the highlight of my round). I hit two great shots. I hit a hybrid on my second shot, 255 yards out, and left it within nine feet. (I) made a great putt there.”—Matías Lescano describing his closing eagle to move into the solo third spot
“Yesterday was tough! I played some good golf but had a couple of accidents on the front nine. I felt good about my play entering today, and a lot of good things happened. I made a lot of putts, hit it quite close a few times and made an eagle too. When you have a day like that you have to take advantage of it.”—Aaron Terrazas on his impressive bogey-free 64 that featured one eagle (18) and six birdies (Nos. 2, 3, 8, 13, 14 and 16)
Tournament Fast Fact
This week’s venue at Cañuelas Golf Club has hosted the Molino Cañuelas Championship for the past three seasons on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. With wins by Brandon Matthews (2017), Tommy Baik (2018) and Andrés Echavarría (2019), the tournament returns to the schedule for the fourth consecutive year, March 26-29.
Second-Round Weather Report
Light rain early. High of 75. Wind SE at 10 to 15 mph.