2017 Results

GANA, OF CHILE, BIRDIES SECOND PLAYOFF HOLE TO EARN DRAMATIC LAAC WIN

Panama City, Panama:Tomas Gana of Chile winner of the 2017 Latin America Amateur Championship at the Club de Golf de Panama during Round Four on January 15th . (Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC)

Tomas Gana of Chile, winner of the 2017 Latin America Amateur Championship at the Club de Golf de Panama. (Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC)

Date: January 12-15, 2017
Venue: Club de Golf de Panama, Panama
Par: 35-35-70
Length: 7,142 yds
Opened: 1977

Standing on the 10th fairway of Club de Golf de Panama in a hole-by-hole playoff, Toto Gana, of Chile, sensed an opportunity to take charge of the 3rd Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC).

“My opponents had hit – one to the left and one to the right,” said Gana, whose name means “win” in Spanish. “I thought to myself, I have the advantage now.”

Gana had held the advantage just two holes earlier. Leading by one stroke on the 72nd hole, he sailed the green with his approach shot on the 457-yard par 4, leading to a bogey that created a three-man playoff at 1-under-par 279 with countryman Joaquin Niemann and Alvaro Ortiz, of Mexico.

Gana then needed to hole a 10-foot putt on the first playoff hole – No. 18 again – to keep himself in the running as Niemann and Ortiz both made comfortable two-putt pars.

On the second playoff hole, the 386-yard, par-4 10th, Niemann bunkered his approach and Ortiz found the green, but left himself with a long, difficult birdie putt. Hitting last from 99 yards, Gana took his 52-degree wedge and sent the ball 2 feet from the hole to set up an easy birdie and become the second player from Chile to capture the LAAC in its three editions.

“I hit the best shot I’ve hit in my whole life, at the best time,” said Gana, 19, who entered the LAAC at No. 285 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), 280 spots behind his close friend Niemann, 18. “I’ve never felt this feeling in my body before.”

Gana, who will begin studies in two weeks at Lynn University in Florida, held a two-stroke advantage on the 17th tee as he played the final round with Niemann and Ortiz. Gana made a solid two-putt par on the 177-yard par 3. Unfortunately for him, Niemann and Ortiz both made birdie putts to close within one stroke. When Gana made bogey from behind the green after hitting into a fairway bunker on the home hole, the first playoff in LAAC history was on.

“I wasn’t so frustrated,” said Gana of losing his late lead. “What I did was keep a cool head. The only thing I wanted to do was go on and play the next hole and be as enthused as possible.”

Ortiz, the younger brother of PGA Tour professional Carlos Ortiz, rued a couple of missed final-round opportunities of his own.

“On No. 10, I made a double bogey from the middle of the fairway,” said Ortiz, who finished tied for third in the first LAAC in 2015 at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “And on No. 15 [a drivable, 280-yard par 4], I hit a perfect 3-wood to the middle of the green and I three-putted [for par]. That was the one that I really thought was going to cost me.”

Ortiz rebounded with a birdie on No. 17, and despite finishing as joint runner-up, the junior at the University of Arkansas was upbeat.

“I’m just happy that I gave myself a chance to win again,” said Ortiz, 21, who is No. 250 in the WAGR. “I think I learned a lot from both Toto and Joaquin. You could see the feeling they had, of wanting to win, and it was amazing to be a part of it.”

Gana joins Matias Dominguez as LAAC champions from Chile, and his mental toughness is a product of his work ethic – he noted that he has practiced every day for the past year and a half.

“I think what Matias did was give a boost to my generation,” said Gana. “He showed us that Chileans are able to win big things. Players like him, [PGA Tour player] Benjamin Alvarado and [Web.com Tour player] Guillermo Pereira, knowing they are there makes me want to do it as well, because I know we can.”

Niemann, who plans to enroll at the University of South Florida in the fall, offset a double-bogey 6 at the ninth hole and a pair of bogeys with four birdies on the day as the final grouping settled into a near-match play competition on the final few holes. Despite his close call, Niemann was thrilled for his close friend’s victory.

“I believe he deserves it 100 percent, all the sacrifice he makes,” said Niemann. “I am very happy for him and I’m waiting for next year so I can have my chance.”

Venue Information

Founded in 1922, Club de Golf de Panama opened its first 18-hole golf course in Via Porras, San Francisco, in 1932. While there, the course ushered in what many consider a “golden era” for golf in Panama in the 1950s as the host of the Panama Open Championship, and it was held there until the club moved to Cerro Viento in 1974. In 1977, the club opened its current location, which is now 15 minutes from Panama City following the construction of a new highway. Jay Riviere and Charles Schaeffer designed the 18-hole course under the watchful eye of club member Carlos Arosemena Lacayo. Since 2004, Club de Golf de Panama has been the venue of the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship. The club is equipped with world-class facilities and also prides itself on its strong familial tradition.

2017 Results

PLACE NAME NAT R1 R2 R3 R4 TOT
1  Toto Gana  CHI 68 71 69 71 -1
T2  Joaquin Niemann  CHI 72 70 67 70 -1
T2  Alvaro Ortiz  MEX 71 70 67 71 -1
T4  Alvaro E. Ortiz  CRC 71 66 73 70 E
T4  Julian Perico  PER 64 75 72 69 E
T6  Jose Luis Montano  BOL 67 72 75 69 +3
T6  Raul Pereda  MEX 69 71 75 68 +3
T8  Nicolas Echavarria  COL 67 72 71 74 +4
T8  Andres Gallegos  ARG 73 66 75 70 +4
T8  Miguel Ordonez  PAN 67 76 68 73 +4
11  Eithel McGowen  PER 71 69 72 73 +5
T12  Cristobal del Solar  CHI 70 72 72 72 +6
T12  Alejandro Tosti  ARG 74 74 70 68 +6
T14  Matias Dominguez  CHI 70 78 71 68 +7
T14  Mateo Gomez  COL 70 77 71 69 +7
T16  Paul Chaplet  CRC 71 75 74 68 +8
T16  Matias Lezcano  ARG 72 73 73 70 +8
T16  Jesus Dario Montenegro  ARG 72 71 74 71 +8
T16  Lucas Rosso  CHI 71 74 74 69 +8
T16  Manuel Torres  VEN 73 68 73 74 +8
T16  Alejandro Villavicencio  GUA 65 73 74 76 +8
T22  Carlos Ardila  COL 75 69 75 70 +9
T22  Luis Fernando Barco  PER 70 74 74 71 +9
T24  Alejandro Restrepo  VEN 73 76 68 73 +10
T24  Gustavo Silvero  PAR 71 73 74 72 +10
T26  Gaston Bertinotti  ARG 68 75 73 75 +11
T26  Gustavo Chuang  BRA 69 72 77 73 +11
T26  Claudio Correa  CHI 75 72 74 70 +11
T26  Santiago Gomez  COL 68 76 74 73 +11
T30  Jorge Garcia  VEN 71 76 71 74 +12
T30  Juan Jose Guerra  DOM 73 74 73 72 +12
T30  Jaime Lopez Rivarola  ARG 74 71 79 68 +12
T30  Devaughn Robinson  BAH 74 73 73 72 +12
34  Rafael Miranda  ECU 70 77 74 72 +13
T35  Sebastian Lopez  COL 75 71 74 74 +14
T35  Pablo Andres Torres Hernandez  COL 73 75 75 71 +14
37  Gabriel Morgan Birke  CHI 75 73 72 75 +15
T38  Luis Gerardo Garza  MEX 75 69 73 79 +16
T38  Herik Machado  BRA 71 67 79 79 +16
40  Pedro H.N. Nagayama  BRA 72 75 77 73 +17
T41  Gustavo Morantes  VEN 71 77 76 74 +18
T41  Talin Rajendranath  TRI 74 72 75 77 +18
T43  Jeronimo Esteve  PUR 68 78 78 75 +19
T43  Ian Facey  JAM 75 73 77 74 +19
T43  Marcos Aurelio Negrini  BRA 72 76 78 73 +19
T43  Alejandro Valenzuela  BOL 75 74 78 72 +19
47  Jose Andres Miranda  ECU 71 76 77 76 +20
48  Alejandro Perazzo  VEN 73 76 77 77 +23
49  Kevin Donegan O’Connell  ISV 73 75 78 79 +25
50  Max Alverio  PUR 77 69 85 77 +28
51  Jose Narro  MEX 71 78 84 77 +30
52  George Trujillo  VEN 71 70 77 WD WD
T53  Sebastian Barnoya  GUA 76 74 +10
T53  Rohan Boettcher  BRA 76 74 +10
T53  Liam Bryden  TRI 75 75 +10
T53  Juan Miguel Heredia  ECU 75 75 +10
T53  James Johnson  BAR 76 74 +10
T53  Esteban Missura  ECU 77 73 +10
T53  Andy Schonbaum  ARG 73 77 +10
T60  Horacio Carbonetti  ARG 74 77 +11
T60  Mike Dunne  PAN 78 73 +11
T60  Daniel Kenji Ishii  BRA 72 79 +11
T60  Sachin Kumar  TRI 74 77 +11
T60  Sebastian Salazar  ECU 74 77 +11
T60  James Yoon  PAR 69 82 +11
T66  Fernando Cruz Valle  MEX 73 79 +12
T66  Juan Carlos Serrano  MEX 74 78 +12
T66  Santiago Urrutia  PER 75 77 +12
T66  Payten Wight  CAY 74 78 +12
T70  Walker Campbell  BER 76 77 +13
T70  Raul Carbonell  PAN 74 79 +13
T70  Daniel Gurtner  GUA 79 74 +13
T70  Ivan Camilo Ramirez  COL 78 75 +13
T74  Luis Cargiulo  PAN 72 82 +14
T74  Pablo Castellanos  GUA 77 77 +14
T74  Jose Guillermo Lewis  PAN 75 79 +14
T74  Ernesto Marin  NCA 75 79 +14
T74  Erick Juan Morales  PUR 80 74 +14
T74  Enrique Valverde  DOM 75 79 +14
T80  Mario Carmona  MEX 74 81 +15
T80  Bobby Moore  ESA 75 80 +15
T80  Alonso Palma  PER 73 82 +15
T80  Alfredo Ruiz  MEX 76 79 +15
T80  Geoffry Schacher  HON 79 76 +15
T85  Daniel Faccini  COL 79 77 +16
T85  Jose Mendez  CRC 77 79 +16
T87  Sergio Roman  ECU 77 80 +17
T87  Rodrigo Sol  ESA 76 81 +17
T87  Nicholas Teuten  URU 79 78 +17
T87  Chicho Vaccaro  PAR 80 77 +17
T87  Michael Wight  CAY 77 80 +17
T92  Carlos Clement  PAN 78 80 +18
T92  Jarryd Dillas  BER 80 78 +18
T92  Matthew Marquez  TRI 77 81 +18
T92  Jonathan Newnham  JAM 80 78 +18
96  Steven Kemp  BAH 78 83 +21
T97  Henry Kattan  HON 82 80 +22
T97  Jorge Luciano Melendez  GUA 77 85 +22
T97  Andres Russi  CRC 80 82 +22
100  Trevor Levine  ISV 80 83 +23
T100  Eugene Edwin  LCA 83 81 +24
T100  Scott Stollmeyer  BAR 85 79 +24
T100  Facundo Alvarez  URU 83 82 +25
T100  Sebastian Smith  CHI 76 89 +25
105  George Scanlon  BOL 82 84 +26
106  Corey Devaux  LCA 83 87 +30
T106  Felipe Strobach  PER 78 WD WD
T106  Agustin Tarigo  URU 72 WD WD