Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (LAAC photo)
has knocked on the door of victory at the Latin America Amateur Championship before, only to be turned away.
Just last year in Puerto Rico, he faced a pivotal par putt on the final hole which would have gotten him into a playoff for the LAAC title with eventual champion Aaron Jarvis
. The putt didn't drop, leaving the Argentinian a year to stew about what could have been.
Fast forward a year later to the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico, where Fernandez de Oliveira took a four-shot lead into the final round following a brilliant 9-under 63 on Saturday. Taking matters into his own hands, he closed with a 5-under 67 to win the championship that has eluded him in five previous tries.
Fernandez de Oliveira finished the tournament with a record score of 23-under par, which was four shots clear of his closest pursuer, Luis Carrera
of Mexico (-19).
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira
The victory earns the 22-year-old invitations to the upcoming Masters in April along with the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in July. He also earns a spot in the U.S. Open, which will be held at Los Angeles Country Club in June.
With favorable scoring conditions all week at the Grand Reserve, Fernandez de Oliveira knew a four-shot lead was anything but safe. He started his final round with a birdie on his opening hole and after dropping a shot on the third, bounced right back with a birdie on four to get back to 19-under.
He preceded to play his final 14 holes at 4-under to hold off Carrera, who also shot a final round 67.
“I'm still very shocked. I think my life has changed,” said Fernandez de Oliveira. “I'm looking forward to a great year. I'm going to take advantage of the three opportunities that I've been given for winning this event. So I'm very happy and I just want to enjoy every second of it.”
Fernandez de Oliveira's victory comes exactly a year after he won the South American Amateur
in Quito, Ecuador.
of Argentina carded a final round 68 to finish alone in third place at 17-under while Jose Islas
(-15) of Mexico and Argentina's Manuel Lozado (-14) rounded out the top five.
On a day where 26 players turned in scores under par, Brazilian Fred Biondi
carded the lowest round of the day with a 65 to climb into seventh place at 12-under 276.
Defending champion Jarvis of the Cayman Islands and UNLV tied for 17th at 4-under 284.
The 2024 Latin America Championship will be played at Santa Maria Golf Club in Panamá City, Panamá from January 18-21.
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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