Royal Westmoreland, Barbados
Barbados Golf Club, Barbados
Royal Westmoreland, Barbados
Local no 1 ranked golfer James Johnson is excited about the opportunity to compete against the best golfers in the region. "We're all thrilled about going to Argentina and test our skills against the very best amateur golfers in the region", said James. "We've prepared well for weeks and we're very grateful to the management and staff at Royal Westmoreland to have given us the opportunity to practice and use of the club facilities during the last weeks." Even though 2014 hasn't been the best result year for James he still feel he has improved his game during the year and consider himself a better golfer today. "I'm driving the ball very well at the moment and that build confidence for the rest of my game".
Scott Stollmeyer can look back on a very successful golfing year as he won two out of three of the local major Championships - Sir Garry Sobers Golf Championships and the RBC Classic. Scott's victory at the Garry Sobers was very impressive as he won with a 16 stroke margin leaving the rest of the field far behind. In the RBC Classic, - Scott was trailing by 1 stroke coming into the last day but manage to keep the nerves under control and won eventually by 5 strokes over Stephen Layne.
The final member of the Bajan trio is Julian Jordan - the 2014 Barbados Open Champion. Julian showed great consistency in the Open, posting an even par 72 on the final day, to finish with a gross 144, three strokes better than James Johnson.
Julian, who first won the Barbados Open back in 1988, exhibited well-measured shot-making and good touch around the greens while separating himself from the other championship contenders.
Barbados Golf Association president Cally Boyea is pleased that the Bajan trio were given slots to appear at tournament. “This is a big recognition for the level and the talent of our golf here in Barbados that we were given three spots at these inaugural championships, where a spot at the Masters is on the line,” said Boyea.
"We have to go out there and try to play solid par golf and take the birdie opportunities when they come by and from there on we'll see if that is enough to make the cut", said Scott before the trio goes out for a last practise before take off to Argentina.
We all wish them all the best.
The Competition - Heroes of the Future
“When I heard about this tournament I was impressed by the great opportunity given to us. I think it is extremely important for South American golf,” said Pereira.
“For sure it is a high level event and a very coveted prize. This tournament also grants those people that rarely play outside their countries the possibility of playing in the United States or Europe. Having the chance to win something important also motivates each one of us to give it our best, and that will contribute to the growth of the game in the region.”
Another prominent player that will be in the field at Pilar Golf in January 2015 is Venezuela’s Jorge García, the second-highest Latin-American player in the WAGR. “Pichu,” as he is known to his friends, was born on Feb. 3, 1996, in Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela. He began playing golf at age 4 because his dad and brother played the game. García joined them, watched them and that’s how it all began. He and his family played at Los Chaguaramos Golf & Club, a golf course in the area where they lived, but it closed when he was only 9 years old. It seemed that the young man’s relationship with the game was over. But García was not about to let his dream end just yet and, after a tough call, his parents decided that their son would pursue his dream in the United States, where he is training as a golfer and maturing as a person.
Regarding the Latin America Amateur Championship, the 18-year-old is very excited about playing in the championship: “When I found out about the creation of the LAAC, my eyes opened wide because I was really shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” said García. “I am very happy to have such an important chance and I believe it will really help grow the game in Latin America. It’s every golfer’s dream. It’s incredible to play in a tournament where so much is on the line. The LAAC will open many doors and will provide many opportunities. It’s going to be very special and whoever wins it, he will remember it for the rest of his life.”
García added: “To play the Masters is a dream for me, it’s the one I like most out of the four, and having the chance to play in it is amazing. When I watched the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship I thought it would be great to have that kind of event in our region. Now it’s a reality and we must take full advantage of this opportunity. The amateur players in Latin America are very lucky to have this championship.”
A third notable player in the Latin America Amateur field is Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, the best amateur player in his country and the fourth-best in the region in the WAGR. Furthermore, there’s that very important factor of him being a local player who knows the venue very well. Tosti was born in Rosario and began playing golf when he was 6 years old. He became interested in the game after watching golf tournaments on TV. He watched Ángel Cabrera playing the Masters Tournament and told his parents right there and then that he wanted to play golf. His parents had cold feet at first because they thought it wasn’t a very popular sport. But after seeing their son’s enthusiasm, they decided to visit every club in the area to find out where he could start practicing, only to realize that the memberships were very expensive and they couldn’t afford them. But then they found Club Mitre Pérez in Rosario where they were able to sign him up and where he took the first steps.
There is also a distinctiveness to Tosti: he plays right handed when he is actually left handed, similar to Phil Mickelson, another one of his idols. “When I started there was only one club for lefties and it was the only one I could use,” said Tosti. “But then came a time in which I needed the rest of the clubs and it was very complicated to get them because they were imported and very expensive. My dad and my coach told me to try playing right handed and since then I’ve been playing with that hand. It all happened very naturally, at the beginning I thought it was going to be very complicated, but a few days later I played a tournament at my club and finished fourth. That really motivated me.”
Tosti is very excited about playing in the LAAC. “When I found out about the creation of the Latin America Amateur Championship, I was surprised,” he said. “It’s like starting a dream, having the chance to play for a spot at the Masters is awesome. It’s something we are not able to fully understand yet, but it’s huge. Besides, I think it will give a big boost to the region because amateurs will work all year long to get in the field of the LAAC. With time it will develop more and better players.
“The prizes at stake at the Latin America Amateur Championship are the ones every amateur player wants,” Tosti added. “Of course there’s the Masters, but the winner and the runner-up get the opportunity to qualify for The Open and the U.S. Open as well as invitations to play in the Amateur Championship and the US Amateur, the two most important tournaments for us at an individual level. All of us will want to fight for these chances, which are quite unique.”