RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – University of Arkansas senior Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira shattered the scoring record – finishing 23-under par with a score of 265 – to win the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship. He led a group of four Razorbacks that finished among the top 15 as Manuel Lozada placed for fifth (-14), Julian Perico placed sixth (-13) and Segundo Oliva Pinto tied for 15th (-6).
Fernandez de Oliveira fired rounds of 68-67-63-67 for a record score of 265 (-23). The previous low 72-hole total was 273 (-13) in 2018 and the previous low score in relation to par was -14 (274) in 2019.
With the win, Fernandez de Oliveira receives invitations to play in The Masters Tournament, the Open Championship, the U.S. Open, the Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship later this year.
Fernandez de Oliveira is the second Argentinian to win the LAAC, joining 2020 winner Abel Gallego, and becomes the third player to finish runner-up one year and come back to be champion the following year. Former Razorback and 2019 LAAC champion Alvaro Ortiz (Mexico) was runner-up in both 2017 and 2018 while 2018 LAAC champion Joaquin Neimann (Chile) was runner-up in 2017.
Fernandez de Oliveira opened the final round with a four-shot lead and birdied his opening hole. He dropped a shot on the par-4 3rd hole but rallied with birdies on holes 4, 6 and 9 to lead by three at the turn. The lead was trimmed to two shots, but birdies on holes 11 and 12 helped led to a four-shot lead once again. He closed his round with six pars to clinch to title.
In addition to his 54-hile scoring records, Fernandez de Oliveira tied the single-round scoring mark with a 63 (round three) and the 54-hole scoring records at 198 (low total) and -18 (low score in relation to par).
Lozada, playing in his second LAAC, placed fifth with three rounds in the 60’s (69-9-68-68=274). In the final round, Lozada was +1 after seven holes with a birdie and two bogeys. However, he went birdies-birdie-eagle over his next three holes. He also had a birdie on 14. While he dropped a shot on 17, Lozada finished his championship with a birdie to edge his Razorback teammate Perico for a solo fifth-place finish.
Perico, playing in his sixth and final LAAC, recorded his fourth top-10 finish, placing sixth with a score of 275 (70-66-67-72). After two pars to open his final round, Perico had bogeys on holes 3 and 4. After six pars, Perico got back to even for the day with birdies on holes 11 and 12. He also birdied 14 but had a bogey on 15 before closing with three pars.
Oliva Pinto started slowly, standing in 42nd after an opening-rounds of 72-74. However, he jumped 22 spots after round three with a 4-under 68 Saturday. He matched that 68 with a bogey-free round on Sunday to finish the championship at 6-under-par 282 and to record his third top 15 finish in three appearances at the LAAC.
Razorbacks at the LAAC
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (Argentina) 2018: T19; 2019: T38; 2020: T19; 2022: T2; 2023 1st
Manuel Lozada (Argentina) 2022: T43; 2023: 5
Segundo Oliva Pinto (Argentina) 2020: 8; 2022: T12; 2023: T15
Julian Perico (Peru) 2017: T4; 2018: T43; 2019: T25; 2020: T6; 2022: T9; 2023: 6