Barbados is being represented at the 2018 Latin American and Caribbean Golf Championships in Chile by the two-member team of James Johnson and Julian Jordan.
They are among 105 golfers from 27 countries in the region, set to tee-off on Saturday (Jan 20) at the Prince Of Wales Country Club in Santiago . The major Championship, where the winner will be invited to play in the 2018 US Masters, runs from January 20 -23.
The top amateur golfers in the hemisphere are seeking to make the cut over the first 36 holes , in the fourth edition of the 72-hole stroke-play championship , where players qualified to compete based on their international amateur rankings.
Johnson, the current Barbados captain , is contesting the LAAC for the fourth time while Jordan is making his maiden appearance. Johnson finished among the top 25 in 2016 but was unable to make the cut last year in Panama.
Both Johnson and Jordan completed practice rounds on Wednesday and Thursday and said they were looking forward to the experience of playing among the region’s top amateurs on a challenging par 72 course.
The course has been described as tight and undulating in some testing areas, with the fringes guarded by deep rough. Experts are predicting that whoever can register 14-16 strokes under-par will emerge winner.
Most Caribbean players are ranked outside of the top 1000 and among other regional golfers competing in the LAAC in Chile are: -Justin Hastings and Payten Wight (Cayman Islands); Juan Jose Guerra, Enrique Valverde, Rodrigo Sanchez and Rhadames Pena (Dominican Republic); Corey Devaux and Eugene Edwin (St. Lucia); Jeronimo Esteve, Erick Morales and Max Alverio (Puerto Rico); Talin Rajendranath of Trinidad and Jamaicans -Jonathan Newnham and Sean Morris.
Twenty year-old Chilean, Toto Gana won the third edition of the LAAC last year in a play-off in Panama and made it the second time that a Chilean player had captured the championship, following Matias Dominguez who won the inaugural tournament in Argentina in 2015 . Paul Chaplet of Costa Rica (at age 17) won the second tournament in the Dominican Republic in 2016.
A cut will be instituted after the first 36 holes, which means that the top 50 players will advance to the championship rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
There are major incentives to win the LAAC tournament , based on prizes extended by The Masters Tournament, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the USGA . Along with being able to play in the 2018 Masters Tournament, the winner and runner -up will receive exemptions into The Open Qualifying Series for The 147th British Open and into sectional qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Open Championship.
Additionally, the champion will receive full exemptions into The Amateur Championship in 2018, the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible.