Since its founding in 2015, the Latin American Amateur Championship (LAAC) has quickly established itself as one of the highlights of the men’s golfing calendar in the region. Still a young championship, the LAAC is continuously evolving and will soon come into the spotlight again during its fourth edition from 20-23 January 2018, at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, Chile. The LAAC invites the top amateur golfers in the region to join the field of 108 players with the champion earning an invitation to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club as well as entry into The Open Qualifying Series for The 147th Open at Carnoustie and sectional qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. As well as an invitation to The 2018 Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links and the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach, as well as any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible. In addition, the winner and the runner(s)-up will be exempt into The Open Qualifying Series for The 147th Open at Carnoustie and sectional qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
In just three years, results coming out of the LAAC have shown both the talent in the field and the many ways it is helping to further the growth of the game in Latin America.
The event is the most televised amateur golf tournament in Latin America, broadcasted on five continents, reaching more than 140 countries and millions of homes worldwide. Other facts and figures include:
- Following his win in 2015, LAAC champion Matias Dominguez became the first Chilean to compete in the Masters in more than 50 years. The following year, 16-year-old champion Paul Chaplet went on to become the first player from Costa Rica and Central America to compete in the Masters, and the second-youngest player in Masters history.
- Winning scores: In 2015, Matias Domínguez (Chile) won with a score of 277 (-11), Paul Chaplet (Costa Rica) carded a 285 (-3) in 2016 and Toto Gana (Chile) reached the event’s first playoff with a 279 (-1), going on to win with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
- Hole-in-one: Colombia’s Nicolás Echavarría made history as the first and only player to achieve this feat in three editions. His ace came during the second round of the 2015 LAAC on the par 3 eighth at Pilar Golf (Argentina) with a 56 degree wedge from 93 yards.
- The oldest player to compete in the LAAC was Canice Louis (59) of St. Lucie, while the youngest was Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet, 15, both playing in 2015.
- The lowest 18-hole score: Peru’s Julián Perico shot a 64 during the first round in Panama (2017). He’s the first player to card a 29 over nine holes.
- Each year, invitations are extended to the leading amateur players from the 29 IOC-recognized countries and territories from the region that are current members of the International Golf Federation.
Founded by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the USGA, the LAAC was established to further develop amateur golf throughout this region, and specifically in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.