Held Jan. 17-20 at the picturesque yet challenging Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo, in the Dominican Republic, the 5th Latin American Amateur Championship saw a field of 102 of the region’s top amateur golfers battling for a place in the Masters. For several of the players, this was their final event as amateurs before turning professional.
Payten Wight and Aaron Jarvis represented the Cayman Islands this year. Payten, who has played in four out of the five previous Latin American championships, had an experienced international golfer as caddie to assist him – his father Michael. Michael had competed for Cayman in the 2016 LAAC, the last time it was held at this venue. Aaron’s caddie was his older brother Andrew – also an experienced international golfer who was on the LAAC Cayman team in 2016.
The event was played over four rounds, with a cut after the first two. Payten did not make it through to the final two rounds but 16 year old Aaron, assisted by Andrew’s advice and support, played his best round of the week to make the cut. He finished the four-day tournament in 50th place.
Cayman Islands Golf Association president Paul Woodhouse said, “Having the opportunity to compete at an event of this level against the very best amateur golfers in the region gives [our players] invaluable experience, which will stand them in good stead going forward.”