Sports October 26, 2015 | 12:48 pm

World´s eyes on Central America, Lat-Am Amateur Golf Championship

One of the main goalsof the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) is to aid in the developmentand growth of the game in Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and SouthAmerica. Its mission is focused on the every country in this region, includingthose that do not have a big golfing tradition and who are still in the processof organizing themselves in a more effective way. With this in mind, theFounding Partners: the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the USGA, havejoined forces in order to inspire more golfers to take up the sport.

The maiden editionpaved the way, and there are many opportunities for thousands of young playersin the region, who perceive the LAAC as a unique chance to be part of somethingspecial. This is no exaggeration, considering this championship grants thewinner the main prize of playing in the 2016 Masters at Augusta National GolfClub. In addition, the winner and the runner(s)-up will be exempt into The OpenQualifying Series for The 145TH Open at Royal Troon and into sectionalqualifying for the U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club next year.And finally, the champion will receive full exemptions into the 2016 TheAmateur Championship, 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateurchampionship for which he is eligible.

Everything that theLatin America Amateur Championship set in motion had a great impact on theregion, but most specifically on those places where golf was neither highlydeveloped nor massively played. Golf Federations in countries such as Bahamas,Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador,Nicaragua, Panama, St. Lucie, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad and Tobago, experienced anunforgettable week as well as their players.

“Hosting this secondedition of the Latin America Amateur Championship will foster the game evenmore in our country, in Central America and the Caribbean. But at the sametime, it will be very important for the Dominican Republic in terms of thedevelopment of the game. This event has generated unprecedented enthusiasmamong the young players who see the possibility of playing in the Masters, TheOpen or the U.S. Open, something priceless and for which we must be verygrateful,” said Rafael Canario, Executive Vice-President of the FederaciónDominicana de Golf.

Likewise, PabloSuinaga, President of the Federación Mexicana de Golf, highlighted the factthat the championship has become a big boost for the youngsters. “The LatinAmerica Amateur Championship is a great event that gives you the possibility ofplaying in the most important championships in the world; it’s somethingunique. This year, our players have been competing in many tournaments in orderto have a good position in the world ranking, which would grant them the chanceto play in the LAAC,” said Suinaga.

Meanwhile, MauricioMusmanni Cordero, President of the Federación de Golf de Costa Rica, is veryenthused over the Latin America Amateur Championship being played in CentralAmerica. “We really have great expectations regarding the second edition of theLAAC, which will be played near our country. It’s a great and uniqueopportunity for the game to keep growing in this part of the world. Thistournament has set a benchmark for others to follow. The fact that three of themost important golf organizations in the world such as the Masters Tournament,The R&A and the USGA are behind this event is hugely important as theyprovide a great deal of support,” said Musmanni Cordero.

The Latin AmericaAmateur Championship has served as an inspiration for many amateur players.Proof of that was watching the Chilean Matías Domínguez (champion of the firstedition of the LAAC) playing at the Masters and the Argentine Alejandro Tosti(runner-up at the LAAC) with the chance to play in The Open and the U.S. Open.

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