Santiago, Chile - Lynn University men's golfer Toto Gana is tied for the Latin American Amateur Championship lead after a three-under par 68 during the first round of the 2018 championship at Prince of Wales Country Club. Fighting Knights teammates Manuel Torres and Carlos Bustos are also competing and within the top-25.
Gana is looking to become the first golfer in LAAC history to repeat as champion and has out-done his predecessors by posting the best round by a defending champion in the ensuing competition. He traded six birdies and three bogeys on his way to a share of the lead (-3) with Argentinian Mark Montenegro and Colombian Pablo Torres.
"Tomorrow is going to be a different day, but I think I'm going to keep on doing the same things I've been doing up to now," said Gana. "The greens are going to be faster. I think it's going to be hotter tomorrow, but I just have to keep on doing what I've been doing. I think I have my game under control. I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow."
Torres is three shots back of his Blue and White teammate after recording an opening round 71 to put him into a tie for 16th place. Bustos logged a two-over par 73 and is tied for 24th. The world's No. 1 amateur, Joaquin Niemann, is tied for 37th with a 74.
The LAAC is a 72-hole stroke play tournament, with cuts for the top-50 players, plus ties, after 36-holes. In the event of a tie, the winner will be decided by sudden-death playoff, which occurred last year when Gana won on the second playoff hole.
The champion receives an invitation to compete in the 2018 Masters Tournament, exemptions into The Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship and final qualifying exemptions for The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie and the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
Gana tees off the second round at 12:26 pm local time from the first tee while Torres follows at 12:37 pm. Bustos has the early tee time at 7:56 am from the first tee. Fans can keep up with the scoring live at LAACgolf.com.