The Argentine broke the La Planicie Golf Course record.
A record, 10-under 62 round allowed Argentine Franco Romero to take a whopping five-shot lead at the Copa Samsung, the closing event of the 2019 Dev Series season. For the second time in its history, the tournament is at La Planicie Country Club.
The 24-year-old Romero pulled ahead of countrymen Matías Simaski and César Costilla, American Michael Davan and the Mexican duo of José Narro and Patricio Guerra. Rounding out the top-10, all with 4-under 68s are Argentines Maximiliano Godoy and Horacio Jr. Carbonetti (amateur), Mexico’s Roberto Rodríguez and former PGA TOUR Latinoamérica winner David Vanegas of Colombia.
“It was a very good round in which I played especially well on the greens. From the first hole, I felt confidence, and that was reflected in my scorecard. I took advantage of the par-5s and some of the par-4. I feel very happy with what I did today,” said Romero, who this year played the Termas de Río Hondo Invitational and the 114 VISA Open de Argentina on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He missed the cut in both tournaments.
Romero began his round at 10 a.m., off the first tee, and it didn’t take him long to attack the golf course. He made five birdies in his first six holes, which placed him as the early. It was a position he maintained the rest of the morning and into the evening. One more birdie on the eighth and a bogey on No. 9 left him with momentum heading into the final nine holes of the day and, naturally, the remaining 54 holes of the tournament.
For the back-nine, the native of Rosario made four pars and five birdies, his birdies coming at Nos. 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18, respectively.
“I don’t highlight any particular shot. What I can tell you is that the putter worked as expected. This year I could not play much, but fortunately I found someone who has helped me, and after a few months of work and preparation the results may be starting to arrive, ”concluded Romero, who achieved his spot in this Dev Series final because he finished inside the top five at the Abierto del Sur, an event held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in mid-February.
The par-72 La Planicie Country Club brings back good memories for Romero. In 2013, when PGA TOUR Latinoamérica played one of its Qualifying Tournaments here, he tied for second. At age 18, for the second consecutive year he was youngest player to earn a Tour exemption. As a professional, his only victory came in 2017, when he won the Carlos Franco Invitational, at the time a tournament that was part of the Dev Series schedule.
As an amateur, he won in 2010 the Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic in the 14-15 category in Florida. In Argentina, he reached the top spot in the National Ranking of Amateurs between 2010 and 2011. His most outstanding achievement as an amateur was his victory in the VI South American Amateur Championship in 2011, an event that was played in Colombia.
At the end of this week, the top-20 players on the leaderboard will have status for the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. Those who finish ranked in the top five will have exempt status for the entire year, while those in positions six through 10 will be exempt for the first half of the season. The remainder will have various conditional statuses.