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  • Hill hires caddie, moves into the lead

  • John Hill, playing for the University of Incarnate Word in Texas, won back-to-back college tournaments in 2019. (Media/PGA TOUR)
    John Hill, playing for the University of Incarnate Word in Texas, won back-to-back college tournaments in 2019. (Media/PGA TOUR)
  • In This Article
  • LUJAN, Argentina—John Hill carried his own bag for the first two rounds of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament at Country Club Las Praderas de Lujan. But with bad weather looming over the course—rain and wind—Hill decided to hire a caddie for the third round. His investment paid off. Hill shot a solid, 2-under 70 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow American Landon Lyons with one round to play. The winner of the tournament will have invitations into every 2021-22 tournament.

    “Today was the right day to have a caddie. It made it a lot easier for me not having to juggle the bag and the clubs and the umbrella and towel,” said Hill. “It took a lot of pressure off me, allowing me to just hit the golf shots. It was extremely useful today.”

    Hill took the lead, in part, because of his play on No. 17. After a solid drive on the par-5, he faced a 181-yard second shot, which stopped nine feet from the hole. From there, he rolled it in to move to 13-under overall.

    “It was the best look at eagle I’ve had in a while, so it was nice to knock that one in,” Hill said.

    He began his day with three pars— “I was grinding for par,” he said—then made his first birdie of the day, at No. 4. “It seemed like a little back and forth after that, with birdies and bogeys.” He didn’t make a birdie on the back nine, with seven pars and a bogey, on No. 10, to go with his eagle.

    “After playing well the first two days, I was able to be in the position where I could pick and choose what shots to hit and not have to force anything,” Hill added. “I was able to hit it to the middle of the green a lot and get it in the fairway. I didn’t have to be far out there, and I could play pretty safe today.”

    Lyons, who has his dad, Lance, on the bag this week, was abundantly aware of the weather, and how it’s changed, seemingly daily. “We’ve had a little bit of everything this week. The practice rounds were almost 100 degrees and windy, then good weather on day one and day two,” he noted. “Things kind of turned sideways today. That’s part of the game, and you learn to adapt and learn to do what you can do.”

    His “do” was six birdies and one bogey, two birdies on his opening nine, the course’s closing nine holes, and four birdies after making the turn, including bookend birdies on the 10th and 18th.

    “I’m enjoying it, man. It’s completely different,” said Lyons of his first visit to Argentina. “I’m adapting and picking up on some Spanish.”

    Did you know John Hill, playing for the University of Incarnate Word in Texas, won back-to-back college tournaments in 2019? He was the co-champion at the Big Texan in Kerrville, Texas, with Calvin Ross, a week after sharing the title at the Bash at the Beach, with Simon Zach and Logan Lowe in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
    Key Information

    How the Tournament Works
    One-hundred-two players started the tournament Tuesday, and 100 remain. Below is a breakdown of the various PGA TOUR Latinoamérica statuses available this week:

    Finish Position

    Status

    Medalist

    Exempt for the entire 2021-22 season

    2nd through 12th (no ties)

    Exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season

    13th through 40th (plus ties)

    Conditionally exempt

    This is a 72-hole, no-cut event. There will be playoffs, if necessary, for the medalist position and for the 12th and final position available.

    Players in this week’s field come from 14 countries and territories: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Sweden, United States and Venezuela.

    Low-round-of-the-day honors belonged to a trio of players—Argentina’s Jesus Montenegro and Matias Simaski, South Korea’s Jinbo Ha, American Landon Lyons and Mexico’s Diego Cordova. They all shot 5-under 67s.

    American Landon Lyons is the only player with three rounds in the 60s through 54 holes. Lyons shot a Thursday 67 after opening 68-69. He’s alone in second, a stroke behind John Hill, with 18 holes left.

    Mexico’s Isidro Benitez is the top Latin player through 54 holes. The native of Mexico is tied for third, with American Josh Radcliff, three shots behind John Hill. Benitez opened with a 63, shot a second-round 70 and then was 1-over Thursday, with a 73. He was 1-over when he made the turn to the back nine but made bogeys on three of his next six holes. He stopped the bleeding a little, with a birdie at the par-5 17th and a par to close.

    The day’s biggest movers were Argentina’s Jesus Montenegro and Matias Simaski. They both moved up 30 leaderboard positions, Montenegro into a tie for 24th and Simaski tied for 29th with 18 holes to play. Mexico’s Diego Cordova improved by eight strokes, with his third-round, 5-under 67. He moved into a tie for 15th after beginning the day tied for 36th—the best showing by players currently inside the top 20. Texas Harper had the best overall one-round improvement, 11 shots better after his 1-under 71. Harper is tied for 74th.

    When the day began, Otto Black was tied for fifth, but after a 5-over 77 Thursday, he tumbled into a tie for 24th with a round remaining.

    Three Argentines are currently inside the top 12 and in position to earn membership cards Friday. All three are tied for fifth—Maximiliano Godoy, Alan Wagner and amateur Aram Yenidejian. They are at 7-under. Yenidejian is also the low amateur not only of the two Argentines but for the entire field.

    There are 20 total Argentines in this week’s tournament.

    Pos.

    Name

    Scores

    T5

    Maximiliano Godoy

    70-69-70—209 (7-under)

    T5

    a-Aram Yenidejian

    71-69-69—209 (7-under)

    T5

    Alan Wagner

    73-67-69—209 (7-under)

    T20

    Exequiel Lopez

    65-72-75—212 (4-under)

    T24

    Puma Dominguez

    70-69-74—213 (3-under)

    T29

    Matias Simaski

    74-73-67—214 (2-under)

    T35

    Lisandro Eyherabide

    72-69-74—215 (1-under)

    T38

    Luciano Giometti

    72-74-70—206 (even)

    T38

    Matias Lezcano

    74-71-71—216 (even)

    T53

    Facundo Villanueva

    71-72-76—219 (3-over)

    T53

    Jesus Montenegro

    77-69-67—213 (3-over)

    T53

    Roman Rebora

    73-74-72—219 (3-over)

    T60

    Hernan Kranevitter

    73-72-75—220 (4-over)

    T63

    Franco Scorzato

    70-74-77—221 (5-over)

    T63

    Vicente Sequeira

    71-74-76—221 (5-over)

    T74

    Horacio Carbonetti

    75-75-72—222 (6-over)

    T80

    a-Matias Gramajo

    74-73-78—225 (9-over)

    T84

    Bernardo Bide

    71-77-78—226 (10-over)

    T90

    Mariano Benitez

    79-76-73—228 (12-over)

    92

    Antonio Maciel

    76-75-78—229 (13-over)

    Quotable

    “Two-under was a great score. It was pretty challenging out there today with the weather conditions. The course is set up pretty tough with the pin positions. I’m really happy with this score.” –John Hill

    “[Friday] is, I think, going to be a day trying to manage myself, my nerves and emotions. Obviously, I would love to win and guarantee full status, but I’m in great position, and I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to play well.” –John Hill

    “It was just solid golf, keeping [the ball] in play] and being able to hole some of my putts.” –Landon Lyons

    Third-Round Weather Report
    Mostly cloudy and warm, with intermittent showers in the morning and into the afternoon. High of 85. Wind S at 9-15 mph.