The top 108 amateur golfers in the region will tee it up on January 20-23, 2018, at Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile, for the fourth edition of the Latin America Amateur Championship – an event offering opportunities highly coveted by all amateurs of the 27 participating countries. The LAAC champion receives an invitation to compete in the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club as well as exemptions into The Amateur Championship, U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible. In addition, the winner and the runner(s)-up are exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The 147th Open at Carnoustie and sectional qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills.
This year’s field has now been confirmed with the full list available here: http://www.laacgolf.com/about/entries
The Latin America Amateur Championship has quickly become an elite amateur golf tournament that is making its mark on the game’s history and showcasing its bright future in Latin America.
The current No. 1-ranked amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) Joaquin Niemann looks to become the third Chilean LAAC champion after finishing T-2 to countryman Toto Gana last year in Panama. This will be Niemann’s fourth appearance in the LAAC with a T-31 finish in 2015 and T-3 in 2016. The 19-year-old qualified for the 2017 U.S. Open field at Erin Hills and received a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic, where he finished T-29 after a final-round 64.
Niemann is joined by 10 other Chilean players in the 2018 LAAC field, including 2015 champion Matias Dominguez and 2017 champion Toto Gana. No. 48 in the WAGR Gabriel Morgan Birke will compete for the second time after finishing 37th in his first appearance last year.
Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti joins the field for the fourth time with two previous top-10 finishes – a solo second place in 2015 and T-3 in 2016 – as well as a T-12 finish in 2017. The University of Florida senior is joined by seven countrymen hoping to bring home Argentina’s first LAAC victory.
Colombia’s Ivan Camilo Ramirez enters the competition at No. 67 in the WAGR. Now a junior at Texas Tech, he saw his best LAAC finish in 2016 with a T-6. Rounding out the WAGR top-100 is Henrik Machado of Brazil, another three-time LAAC competitor. Machado won the top spot in the 2017 Argentine Stroke Play by eight strokes at 17 under par.
Costa Rican Paul Chaplet returns to the field as the 2016 LAAC champion who is currently playing his freshman season at Arizona State University. Other players with success at previous editions of the LAAC are: Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz (runner-up in 2017 and 3rd place in 2015); Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia (runner-up in 2016 and 10th place in 2015); Bolivia’s Jose Luis Montano (three Top 10s); and Peru’s Luis Fernando Barco (3rd place in 2016).
Though the field includes the top amateurs of the region and even the world, the Latin America Amateur Championship has distinguished itself throughout its short but rich history as a tournament where every player has the chance to live his dream. The field features 108 players from 27 different countries, and all of them will put their best game forward as they compete to win the coveted title and rewards on offer to the champion.