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Mexico's Ortiz wins Latin America Amateur, earns Masters invite

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LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic — On the strength of a back-nine 31 and a final-round of 6-under 66, Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz won the Latin America Amateur Championship by two Sunday over Costa Rica's Luis Gagne.

Playing what would have been his final event as an amateur, Ortiz started the day with a one-shot lead but lost it to Gagne on the front nine. Not to be denied at this event yet again, the former Arkansas Razorback eagled No. 12 and then birdied Nos. 13, 17 and 18 to win the title that had eluded him for four years.

Ortiz had previously recorded three top-3 finishes at this event with two runner-ups. He lost a playoff to Toto Gana in 2017 and lost the 54-hole lead to a charging Joaquin Niemann in 2018.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Now, Ortiz, who previously had plans to head to the PGA Tour Latinoamerica Qualifying Tournament later this month, has at least one more event to play before the he begins professional career — the Masters.

In addition to his invite to Augusta National, Ortiz wins invitations to the U.S. Amateur, the Amateur Championship and exemptions into U.S. Open sectional qualifying and Open Championship final qualifying. That said, Ortiz is likely to follow the path forged last year by Niemann, who turned pro after playing the Masters.

Ortiz will be the first player to represent Mexico at the Masters since Victor Regalado in 1979.