Officials from The R&A held meetings with the presidents and general secretaries of the national golfing bodies from 10 South American countries during the Copa Los Andes event at Mar del Plata in Argentina.
The event, which is the South American Amateur Team Championships for men and women, was supported for the third year running by a £25,000 grant from The R&A. The men’s championship was won by a wide margin by Argentina, and they came a close second to Colombia in the women’s event. The championships are decided by foursomes and singles match play over four days.
One of the leading players was Oscar Alvarez of Colombia, a student at Brigham Young University in Utah, who qualified for the 2004 US Open Championship.
Mar del Plata is 300 miles south of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast and although the course is short by modern standards, it is exposed to winds off the ocean and provided an excellent test. The championships, now in their 59th year, were last played at Mar del Plata in 1964 and were superbly organised by the host club, the Argentine Golf Association and the South American Golf Federation.
Noel Stephens, Chairman of The R&A Golf Development Committee, and Duncan Weir, Director of Golf Development, attended the championships for the second time and met with officials from the nine participating countries to discuss ways in which The R&A can help the development of golf in South America.
Together with Mark Lawrie, the Executive Director of the Argentine Golf Association, they also visited a number of golf clubs in the area. This was the second R&A visit to South America this year, following highly successful Rules Schools held in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador.
The 2005 Copa Los Andes will be played at Guayaquil in Ecuador.
Men - Argentina (16 points), Chile (10), Uruguay (10), Colombia (8), Venezuela (8), Peru (6), Ecuador (5), Brazil (5), Bolivia (4).
Women – Colombia (15), Argentina (14), Chile (11), Peru (10), Ecuador (9), Brazil (6), Venezuela (4), Bolivia (2), Uruguay (1).