Ortiz opens with 66 for 3-shot lead in Latin American Am

CASA DE CAMPO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.

Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.

The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.

Ortiz had six birdies and an eagle to offset a pair of bogeys on the Teeth of the Dog course.

Five players were at 69.