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One of the most incredible stories in the seven editions of the Latin America Amateur Championship was written this Sunday at Teeth of the Dog, Casa de Campo. Aaron Jarvis, from the Cayman Islands, a British territory with only 650 players and two golf courses, won the title of the most important amateur championship in the region after signing a card of 69 strokes (-3) and totaling 281 (- 7).
“The truth is that I cannot put into words what this means to me, it is incredible. In the next few hours, I am going to take in the real dimension of what I have just achieved. The opportunity to play the Masters and The Open is a dream for any golfer and I can’t wait for it to come true”, were the first words of Jarvis, 19, who played extraordinary golf under pressure, where the Brazilian Fred Biondi squandered a two-shot lead from the final group.
“I was very patient at the end of the round, I knew that in the last few holes I could make some birdies and I left the opportunities. Hopefully, this will help golf grow in my country”, expressed the brand-new LAAC champion who was participating in this championship for the second time, still incredulous. The previous one had been on this same stage in 2019 when he made the qualifying cut but finished in 50th place. “Obviously I came in better prepared this time, with more experience and with a totally different game,” said Jarvis, who got his place in the University of Las Vegas after achieving great results in his senior year at Windemere Prep School.
In addition to his first big semester of college, Jarvis’s decision to settle in the United States to attend the Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy in Orlando after his debut at the 2019 LAAC was a hinge in his young career. this can inspire the next generations of my country so that golf begins to gain popularity, “added Jarvis, who will undoubtedly revolutionize not only the Cayman Islands, but Leadbetter’s academy, the University of Las Vegas, and every corner of his native country. of only 71 thousand inhabitants.
The beginning and the end of the round were the sublime moments of Jarvis in a Sunday day in which the Teeth of the Dog, still without wind, proved to be a perfect setting for the definition of this championship. Emotions ran high in each of the final groups and Jarvis silently climbed the board. The start of the round quickly put him in position with three birdies in the first five holes. The bogey on the 8th was not as serious as the double bogey on the par 4 of the 9th, for a 36 (par) in the first leg that distanced him from Biondi and the rest of those who were fighting for the championship even with many ups and downs.
While Roberto Nieves (Puerto Rico), leader after the first 54 holes, lost his consistency with the double bogey in the par 5 of the 5, Mateo Fernández de Oliveira (Argentina) put pressure on with a solid round of 68 shots without errors that It reached him by a single blow (he did not lower the par 5 of the 18). In silence, Jarvis began to risk from the 10th hole and with four birdies and a bogey (on the 16th), he closed with 33 laps (-3). The magic number of 281 shots (-7) was the challenge for everyone and, therefore, an extra pressure for everyone that added a touch of drama to the end.
In this context, Fred Biondi, pointer by two to the 10th tee, changed his apparent calm for a couple of bad swings that cost him two bogeys in the last five holes and did not lower the par 5 on the 18th. He was also silent and a fighter. Vicente Marzilio (Argentina), who had the last chance to send the final to the playoffs: after a huge second shot on the 18th (the ball hit a hydrant before the green and was 4 meters away), the Argentine missed the putt for eagle and it’s all over. A few minutes earlier, Santiago de la Fuente (Mexico) also had his chance, but he missed a meter for birdie on the 18th and squandered his chance to force a tiebreaker.
The Latin America Amateur Championship 2022 taught everyone a new lesson: in golf, there is always room for surprises, for incredible stories of success, for champions who come from small islands with a couple of golf courses and a handful of players. fans. Aaron Jarvis will surely be a hinge not only for his country but the perfect inspiration for many throughout the region. In short, that is what this championship that the Founding Partners devised is about: the Masters, The R&A, and the USGA.
The LAAC Awards:
Aaron Jarvis received an invite to play the 2022 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and The 150th Open at St Andrews. In addition, he obtained complete exemptions to play The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championships for which you are eligible and exempt for the final stages of qualifying for the 122nd U.S. Open to be played at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Also, Mateo Fernández de Oliveira, Vicente Marzilio, Santiago de la Fuente and Fred Biondi, enter directly to the final phases of qualification for The 150th Open and the 122th U.S. Open. Open Championship.