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Omar Morales builds 3-shot lead at Latin America Amateur

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Omar Morales of Mexico opened with three quick birdies on his way to a 5-under 65, giving him a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Latin America Amateur. At stake is a chance to play in three majors this year.

Morales was on the verge of pulling away until finding water off the tee on the par-5 18th at Santa Maria Golf Club and making double bogey.

He was at 7-under 203.

A junior at UCLA, he will attempt to join Alvaro Ortiz in 2019 as the only Mexican winners of the Latin America Amateur in its nine-year history.

The winner gets a spot in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. Morales last summer hit the opening tee shot in the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, having made it through two qualifiers.

Santiago De la Fuente of Mexico had a 66 and was three shots behind, with Mateo Fuenmayor of Colombia another shot back after a 68.

Morales is No. 72 in the world amateur ranking, the highest in the field at Santa Maria.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf