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Latin America Amateur winner to receive exemption into The Open

2020 Latin America Amateur Championship announcement
Enrique Berardi/LAAC

For the first time in the Latin America Amateur Championship's six-year history, its winner will receive an exemption into the game's oldest major.

The event, which has offered a Masters invitation to its winner every year since its inception in 2015, will now also offer a spot in The Open Championship.

“We are delighted to offer a place in The Open for the winner of the 2020 Latin America Amateur Championship,” Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said in a statement.

“The championship has made huge strides in the five years since it was first played and you only have to look at the success that [2018 winner] Joaquin Niemann has enjoyed on Tour to recognize the growing strength of the top players in this region.

“There is a strong tradition of amateurs competing in The Open and we look forward to seeing more players from Latin America and the Caribbean competing in the years to come.”

The R&A began extending an Open exemption to the winner of the LAAC's sister event, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, in 2018. Speaking to the media ahead of last year's event at Casa de Campo, Slumbers was asked if the R&A was considering the same for the LAAC and hinted that such an announcement was possible in the future.

This week's Latin America Amateur is being played at Mayakoba in Mexico from Jan. 16-19. Last year's event was won by Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz, who has since turned pro. Past champions in the field include Matias Dominguez (2015), Paul Chaplet (2016), and Toto Gana (2017). 

The 149th Open Championship will be played at Royal St. George's from July 16-19.