Panama Golf Club Announced as 2017 LAAC Venue

LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic – The third edition of the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) will be conducted from January 12-15, 2017, at Panama City’s Club de Golf de Panama. The announcement was made today during the 2016 LAAC, which is currently being contested at Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic.

Founded by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), the LAAC was established to further develop amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Each year, the LAAC champion receives an invitation to compete in the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. In addition, the winner and the runner(s)-up are exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open Championship. The champion is also awarded full exemptions into The Amateur Championship, U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible.

The inaugural LAAC in 2015 was played at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Matias Dominguez won the title and became the first Chilean to compete in the Masters in more than 50 years. With the 2016 LAAC taking place at the Dominican Republic’s Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo, the organizers have taken the championship to South America and the Caribbean and look forward to taking it to Central America in 2017.

“As golf has continued to grow in our country, Panama has attracted prestigious golf tournaments, and we feel very fortunate to host and welcome this premier championship to Panama for the first time,” said Jorge Loaiza, President of Asociacion de Golf de Panama. “Our organization shares the commitment of the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the USGA to advance the sport, and we look forward to working with them to stage next year’s Latin America Amateur Championship at the distinguished Club de Golf de Panama.”

Panama is a country of 3.9 million people and has 11 golf courses. 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. The event boasts an impressive list of winners, including Sam Snead, Doug Ford, Art Wall, Arnold Palmer and Argentina’s Roberto De Vicenzo, and 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 Tour’s Panama Claro Championship. The club is equipped with world-class facilities and also prides itself on its strong familial tradition.

“We are honored to host the third Latin America Amateur Championship and be a part of this important effort to promote the game,” said Club de Golf de Panama President Gilberto Arosemena. “Club de Golf de Panama has a long history of welcoming golfers from throughout our region and around the world. We are proud to have been selected and look forward to contributing to the invaluable opportunity the LAAC presents for talented amateurs across Latin America.”

This week’s 2016 LAAC in the Dominican Republic features a 108-strong field of the leading male amateurs in Latin America. Television coverage includes two hours of live broadcast across 140 countries on each of the four days of play. Free admission is also offered to patrons of the LAAC at Casa de Campo.