Matias Dominguez began the week No. 421 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and 293rd in the world of college golf, but on Sunday at Pilar Golf Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Chilean earned something much more important then ranking points.
The 22-year-old closed with a 1-under 71 to win the inaugural Latin American Amateur Championship and with it an invitation to this year’s Masters.
Dominguez will be just the second Chilean to play in the Masters. Enrique Orellana missed the cut in 1964 at Augusta National.
“It was something that for all of us we thought was impossible. I think everyone is in shock right now that we have another Chilean in the Masters,” said Dominguez, who finished at 11-under 277 to edge Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti by a stroke.
Dominguez, a senior at Texas Tech, also earned an invitation to the U.S. Amateur and the Amateur Championship and will be exempt into the final stage of qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open and Open Championship.
Not bad for a player who not so long ago was considering life after college, after golf.
“I talked to my coach and my parents and came to the decision that if it works it works, if not I can try something different. You never know until you try,” Dominguez said.
His victory on Sunday will certainly be a boost for Dominguez’s professional aspirations if for no other reason it exposed him to pro-like pressure.
A day after birdieing his final three holes at Pilar to take a one-stroke lead into the final round, Dominguez bogeyed two of his last three holes after a three-hour weather delay but still landed the coveted invitation to Augusta National later this spring.
“It’s a shock right now. Everything is just going crazy and my family, everybody was just crying. So many emotions,” Dominguez said. “As a young golfer my dream was to play the Masters. That was my last goal as a golfer. Hopefully I can share this moment with my friends and family.”