Aaron Jarvis is the 2022 Latin America Am Champion (Photo: Enrique Berardi)
is the 2022 Latin America Amateur champion and will be the first player in history from the Cayman Islands to play in The Masters and Open Championship.
The win didn’t come easily, Jarvis was three behind leader Roberto Nieves to start the day. Three birdies on his first five holes put him into contention, but a bogey on the eighth hole and a double on the ninth dropped him back to four-under par and seemingly out of the running. To Jarvis’ credit, he battled back and birdied 10 and 12. When Jarvis hit his approach on the 15h hole from the right rough to two feet, he found himself back in the thick of the race.
“I just stayed patient. I knew out there anything could happen, especially on the holes coming in,” Jarvis said. “Besides 16, the other holes were pretty gettable. I just tried to give myself good birdie looks and managed to drop a few.”
Jarvis’ second shot into the par 5 18th ran through a bunker and onto the green. A stress-free two-putt for birdie gave him the clubhouse lead, as he pulled into a tie with Brazil's Fred Biondi
at seven-under par.
The 18th green was rife with drama as Jarvis watched multiple competitors miss opportunities to force a playoff. First was Mexico’s Santiago De La Fuente
, who three-putted for par on the final hole. His birdie putt was a slippery three-footer that just slid past the cup.
Next came Fred Biondi, who made a nervy bogey on the 17th when he pulled his approach shot left and nearly into a red hazard area. Biondi couldn’t save par and arrived on the 18th tee one shot behind Jarvis. Biondi missed the green with his second shot and after a somewhat disappointing pitch shot, his 20-foot birdie putt burned the edge. Biondi finished with a par, one shot off Jarvis’ seven under.
Then it was Vicente Marzilio's
The Argentinian had been off the radar for most of the day. He was in a tie for fifth place as he stood on the 18th fairway, two shots behind Jarvis. After watching Roberto Nieves hit his second shot into 18 to about eight feet, Marzilio stepped up and received an unbelievable touch of luck. His shot landed short of the green, just like Jarvis’ approach 45 minutes earlier. However, instead of scampering through the bunker, Marzilio’s ball hit a sprinkler head and rocketed straight up into the air. When its journey was done, the ball rested 15 feet from the cup for an eagle, which would force a playoff.
“There isn’t much oxygen on this green right now,” Dottie Pepper said as Biondi and Marzilio stalked their putts.
Marzilio hit an excellent putt that caught the lip on the top side and bounced out.
“It was very emotional. I was fighting the whole day. I’m so happy to have a chance for my team,” a teary-eyed and upset Marzilio said to Dottie Pepper. “I tried to hit the best putt I could. It’s really tough. The competition is really hard. It comes down to one shot. There was a lot to play for and I’m sure I’m going to get another chance in the future.”
Jarvis let out a scream of joy as his Cayman Island teammates clapped him on the back and celebrated his victory.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say this victory for the UNLV freshman was a bit of a surprise. His country, which has a population of 66,000 and sits south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea, is not known for golf; it has just one course.
Jarvis is ranked 1669 in the WAGR rankings. Over the last two years, Jarvis has won four events, but the LAAC is by far the biggest and he hopes he can create a ripple effect in his homeland.
“I love representing my country. Hopefully, I can make a change at home and get more players involved,” he said after his round.
“It means the world to me. The opportunities to go to the Masters and play in the British Open. No other young golfer dreams of anything else but playing in those tournaments,” Biondi said in the trophy ceremony.” I can’t wait. It’s going to be amazing.”
With this win, Aaron Jarvis has filled up his golfing calendar with some prestigious events. He will play in The Masters, 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews, the U.S. Amateur, the Amateur, and will also have an exemption into the US Open final qualifying, putting him 36 holes from a trip to The Country Club in Brookline in June.
ABOUT THE Latin America Amateur
Founded by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and
the USGA, the LAAC was established to further
develop amateur golf in South America, Central
America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The LAAC is a
72-hole stroke play event open to a field of 108
amateur players in Latin America, chosen by their
respective national federations according to their
World Amateur Golf Ranking. Past winners of the
championship, as well as last year’s top-five
finishers, are automatically entered into this year’s
The LAAC champion annually receives an invitation
to compete in the Masters at Augusta National Golf
Club, the U.S. Open and the British Open. The
champion is also awarded full exemptions into The
Championship, the US Amateur Championship and
any other USGA amateur championship for which he
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