PREVIEW: The Women's Amateur Latin America Championship
Though it's still in its infancy stages, the Women's Amateur Latin America Championship has already accomplished its main goal: to change lives.

Just ask defending champion Valery Plata, the Michigan State senior from Floridablanca, Colombia who won the inaugural WALA last year.

“The victory changed my life without a doubt, I was able to play two majors and it made me grow as a player. It was the best victory of my career and it is something I will never forget,” said Plata, who will not be here to defend the title because she will be playing the qualifying stages for the LPGA Tour.

Sixty of the top female amateurs from Latin America will begin their pursuit of a dream starting on Thursday when the second edition of the WALA tees off at Pilar Golf, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The championship comes with big stakes. In addition to coveted World Amateur Golf Rankings points, the winner will receive exemptions into three of next year's majors: The Chevron Championship (April 20-23 at The Club at Carlton Woods, United States), The Amundi Evian Championship (July 27-30 at the Evian Resort Golf Club, France), and the AIG Women's Open (August 10-13 at Walton Heath Golf Club, England).

A legend of the game will also visit Pilar Golf this week – 10-time Major champion Annika Sorenstam, who will arrive in Buenos Aires this Saturday to offer her traditional golf clinic for competitors.

"She is our benchmark," several of the girls agreed.

“Our tournament is growing year after year and the level of competition is getting higher. I am very excited to return to Buenos Aires for this second edition and to meet many of the players who are participating for the first time,” said Sorenstam.

It is clear that the involvement of Annika in the championship is essential, especially because of what she represents in golf around the world – she is a source of inspiration and motivation for thousands of golfers. An example of her greatness is her commitment to generously share her experiences with the new generation of amateur golfers.

Colombian María José Marín is one of the favorites to watch this week; she was close in 2021, finishing runner-up just one stroke behind Plata. “I hope to have a great week like last year, but with a different ending,” said the 16-year-old, who will play for the University of Arkansas.

Both Colombia and Argentina have the largest number of representatives in this second edition of the championship with nine players. The Argentines María Cabanillas, Valentina Rossi and Ela Anancona are local favorites who can bring a first WALA title to the host country.

The 72-hole stroke play championship begins Thursday, November 16 and concludes Sunday, November 20.

ABOUT THE Women's Latin America Amateur

Introduced in 2021, this tournament was created by the R&A and the ANNIKA Foundation. The 72-hole stroke play event will have a select field of 60 players, with invitations given based on World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). The winner will receive an exemption into the Women's British Open.

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