LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — Since the inception of the Latin America Amateur Championship in 2015, the event has gone to Argentina, Panama, Chile and the Dominican Republic. The one significant golf country in the area missing from that list has been Mexico, but that is about to change.
On Thursday, officials from the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, founding partners of the LAAC, announced that Mayakoba’s El Camaleón Golf Club on Riviera Maya will hold the event in 2020. The tournament dates are Jan. 16-19, 2020.
“We want to cover all parts of the region, and when you look at what we’re trying to achieve with the tournament, it was a very simple decision to say Mayakoba,” said Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive. “It finishes off all the regions for the championship in the sixth year. It comes together that way.”
The Greg Norman-designed course opened in 2006 and a year late began hosting the first PGA Tour-run tournament outside the U.S. and Canada. The facility also hosted the men’s and women’s World Amateur Team Championship in 2016.
The announcement was a bit bittersweet for the country’s leading amateur golfer, Alvaro Ortiz, who jumped to the early lead on Thursday at Casa de Campo, shooting an opening-round 66. Ortiz is playing for the fifth time in the event, but will be turning professional shortly, and so he’ll miss it when the tournament finally comes to his home country.
“For me, it’s kind of a shame, because I won’t be able to play,” Ortiz said. “But for Mexicans, we’ve been waiting for this tournament to be held in our home country. I’m just happy for my friends that they are going to get a chance to play it at home, so hopefully some of them will lift the trophy on Sunday.”