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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 01:39 PM EDT

Gomez leads Panama Championship by a shot

Golfers & GolfingPanama City, Panama (Sports Network) - Argentina's Rafael Gomez shot a two- under 68 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead at the Panama Championship. Gomez finished the first two rounds at the 2009 Nationwide Tour opener at five-under 135. Henrik Bjornstad (67), Skip Kendall (69) and 2005 champion Vance Veazey (69) are tied for second place at four-under 136. Jeff Gove (68), Garrett Osborn (69), Camilo Benedetti (69), Kevin Johnson (70) and Jim Herman (70) share fifth place at three-under 137. Gomez made three birdies on the front nine and was suddenly six-under par -- no small feat considering how tough it has been to gain strokes this week at Panama Golf Club. But then his round took an apparently disastrous turn. He stumbled to a bogey at the par-four 10th, then made a triple-bogey seven at the 11th after hitting his tee shot into the water. Gomez chalked it up to a loss of concentration. "I was playing really well and then we got some rain showers to start the back nine," he said through a translator. "It affected my concentration and got me in a spin. I got myself squared away and refocused on what I needed to do." Gomez, playing in the second-to-last group, was able to overcome his missteps, collecting birdies at the 13th, 15th and 17th holes to take the second-round lead. The 41-year-old Argentine, who has never won on the Nationwide Tour, picked up a significant title on the Canadian Tour in November when he won the Sport Frances Open by a stroke. "I came here trying to win this tournament," said Gomez. "I don't know if I will, but I have prepared for this particular week." Following two days of tough scoring conditions, the cut line fell at three- over 143. Among those who missed the weekend were the last two champions, Scott Dunlap and Miguel Angel Carballo. The tournament marks the beginning of the Nationwide Tour's 20th season.
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