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South American duo grab the lead in Merida

Tommy Cocha tied the course record with a 64 to share the lead with Andres Echavarria of Colombia.

Tommy Cocha y Andrés Echavarría during second-round play at Yucatan CC. Photos by Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR

Mérida, MX (September 6, 2012) Battling for the lead much of the day, Argentina’s Tommy Cocha (64) and Colombia’s Andres Echavarria (65) shot the low rounds of Thursday’s second round to tie for the 36-hole lead. Cocha’s 8-under par 64 tied Yucatan CC’s course record, established by Mexico’s Oscar Fraustro in 2011.

Cocha, who began the day with a bogey on his first hole, went on to make ​​nine birdies in his round including a back-nine 31 matching his 31 on the same nine yesterday. "The course is playing really hard, I'm surprised (by my score) I think this is my best professional round. I hit it very well and made some putts which was key to my 8-under par, "said the diminutive 21-year-old native of Salta, Argentina.

Tommy, who has his brother Rafael on the bag this week is grateful to have his older brother with him and for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, “This is a great opportunity that the TOUR has given us given that it’s the first time time (Latin) America has something that will help further our careers” said Cocha.

Echavarria finished second in the Web.com Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open, as an amateur, in 2011. He followed up his first round 69 with a 67 to catch Cocha.

"I was able to manage my game well today. I tried to stay calm because I made bogey at 17 and 18 and came to holes 1-3 holes which are not easy, "said the University of Florida graduate, who resumed his fast pace with birdies on holes 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8.

"The par-3s on this course are quite difficult. The wind affects you more than you may think. The 18th hole is a very hard hole with the wind coming in from the left but I knew I was going to make bogeys on this course, so I knew I had to remain patient, "he said contemplating his first two rounds on the Jack Nicklaus course.

Two-strokes behind the leaders in third place are Mexico’s Armando Favela, who shot a second consecutive 67 to be the highest placed Mexican, and American Dustin Garza(68).

First-round leader Jose de Jesus "El Camaron" Rodriguez, still visibly shaken by the flu, had to settle for a 71 after starting with three birdies in his first four holes. The up and down round left four shots back in a tie for fifth with Rafa Campos of Puerto Rico, who shot 66 to move up 13 spots.

Fifty-five players made the 36-hole cut at even par 144. Third round pairings will be in two-somes off the first tee beginning at 9:30 am. The last twosome, of Cocha and Echavarria will go off the first tee at 2 pm.

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