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Saturday, January 17, 2015

About Those Amateurs Down in Argentina

Most of you are aware that the inaugural Latin America Amateur Championship-- the joint effort of the Masters Committee, the USGA, and the R&A -- is being played this week in Argentina. If nothing else, you've seen Rich Lerner's live reports during Morning Drive.

What you may NOT be aware of is that -- at least here in America -- ESPN2 has been carrying live coverage of the event. In case you haven't seen any of that, let me bring you up-to-date on what is happening.

Andre Tourinho of Brazil,

The Latin America Amateur Championship was inspired by the success of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and, like the APAC, will award a spot in this year's Masters to the winner. In fact, it awards A LOT of spots:
  • 2015 Masters Tournament
  • 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship (USGA) 
  • 2015 Amateur Championship (R&A)
  • Spot in final-stage qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Open
  • Spot in final-stage qualifying for The Open 2015
This inaugural version of the event is being played at the Pilar Golf Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Next year it will be played on a course affectionately known as "The Teeth of the Dog" at the Casa de Campo Seaside Resort in the Dominican Republic.)

After Round 2, the leader at -8 is Andre Tourinho of Brazil (my friend Paulo in Brazil will be thrilled with that) after shooting 70-68. He's one shot ahead of both Matias Dominguez of Chile and Joaquin Bonjour of Argentina. Many of the players in this event have played at American colleges and Tourinho is no exception; he graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2012. You can read a full summary of Round 2 at this link.

The official website for the event is at this link, and you can find the leaderboards at this link. Also, Bob Harig has done some articles about the event, including this one that will give you some idea of how much Payne and Co. are investing to make this event something special.

And if you want to catch some of the live coverage, here are the times for ESPN's remaining broadcasts:
  • Saturday at 10am-noon ET on ESPNEWS
  • Sunday at 11am-1pm ET on ESPN2
  • Sunday (highlights) at 5-5:30pm ET on ESPN2
(Please note that these times are also good on the WatchESPN app, if you have that.)

Bear in mind that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship has given us, among others, Hideki Matsuyama who is currently #15 (and moving up) in the OWGR... and that event has only been going since 2009. We could very well be watching some of South America's future stars this week.