The Argentine extends his lead to eight strokes over Davan
Argentina’s Franco Romero has all the appearance of running away with the Samsung Cup, the final tournament of the Dev Series season. Romero carded a 6-under 66 Friday, moving to 16-under for the tournament and an eight-shot lead over American Michael Davan at La Planicie Country Club.
Davan didn’t play poorly, signing for a 3-under 69. It’s just that Romero has been completely dominant through 36 holes. In third, at 7-under and nine shots back is Mexico’s Patricio Guerra.
“It was a very good day despite having some more wind. More tan anythikng, I am very confident on the greens. I am reading the breaks quite well, and I think that has been very positive,” said Romero, who has only made two bogeys thorugh the first 36 holes. “My confidence is high, and I have to seize the moment while I can.”
Like Thursday’s first round, Romero began his day on the front nine and immediately recorded birdies in three of his first five holes. From there he made pars until he reached the par-5 10th, where he again made a birdie. Two more followed, on Nos. 12 and 13, while on 16 a bad tee shot resulted in his only bogey of the day.
On No. 18, a 503-yard par-5, Romero had another bad tee shot, the ball stuck against a wall on the left side of the fairway bordering the 10th hole. Without many options, Romero hit his second shot. He tried to attack the pin but came up short. His third-shot approach left him with a birdie putt, that he made.
“On 18, I thought that I was going to make a birdie. I had a very complicated second shot and the third was not good either. Fortunately for me the ball got into the approach to the opening on the green. It gave me a lot of confidence to get out of situations like this. I am truly enjoying this week in Lima, ”the native of Rosario added.
Romero has played a total of 75 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments between 2012 and 2019. His best result is a tie for 11th at the 2013 Abierto OSDE del Centro. His best Order of Merit position came in 2015 when he finished No. 76, thanks to three top-25s.
In 2012, Romero made his professional debut at the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational NEC Cup in October, an event that was part of the Tour schedule at that time. In that evento, he shot rounds of 75-74 to miss the cut. That same year, in June, while still an amateur, he achieved conditional status for the inaugural season of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica by taking 21st place in the Qualifying Tournament held at the Hurlingham Club in Argentina. In that evento, he lost a playoff with compatriot, three-time Tour winner Jorge Fernández-Valdés, for the 20th place, the final exempt card.
Third-round tee times will begin at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, with groups of three players playing off both the first and 10th tees. The leaders will go off the first tee at 10:40 a.m., Romero, Davan and Guerra.
David Faraudo is tied for fourth place after his second 69 of the week. The Mexican shares that position with Argentina’s Maximiliano Godoy (70). Chileans Horacio León (68) and Mark Tullo (70) and Argentina’s Matias Simaski (72) share sixth place, making it to the weekend at 5-under.
With a total of 4-under 140, the top 10 is rounded out by Canadian Sebastian Szimak (fired a bogey-free 67), local favorite Patricio Salem (69), Venezuelan Manuel Torres (69), Chilean Juan Cerda (70 ), Finland’s Toni Hakula (70), American Eric Steger (70), Mexicans Roberto Rodríguez (72), José Narro (73) and Gonzalo Rubio (71), Colombian David Vanegas (72) and the Argentine César Costilla (73). Costilla is the only player in the field with multiple victories in the 2019 Dev Series season. He won the Abierto del Norte and the Abierto del Litoral.
At the end of this week, the best 20 players will have status for the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. Those who finish inside the top five will acquire exempt status for the entire year, with those finishing between sixth and 10th will be exempt for the first half of the season.Conditional status goes to the 11th-through-20th finishers.