Latin America Amateur Championship

Santiago De la Fuente claims dramatic victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship

The R&A
21 Jan 24
3 mins
Santiago De la Fuente became the second Mexican to win the Latin America Amateur Championship after edging out his compatriot Omar Morales at Santa Maria Golf Club in Panama City, Panama on Sunday. Starting the day three shots behind Morales, De la Fuente produced an excellent six-under-par 64 in blustery conditions to lift the Latin America Amateur trophy and secure his place in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and The 152nd Open at Royal Troon. De la Fuente finished with a 10-under total of 270, two shots clear of Morales with their nearest rivals Mateo Fuenmayor of Colombia and Justin Hastings from the Cayman Islands finishing in third and fourth at three-under and two-under, respectively. Morales started the day in pole position, but a two-shot swing occurred on the second when he bogeyed as De la Fuente made birdie. The pair each tallied three birdies and one bogey throughout the remainder of the front nine, with Morales holding on to his one-shot lead at the turn.
Santiago de la Fuente will play at The 152nd Open at Royal Troon.

Emotional de la Fuente

De la Fuente moved level with a birdie at the 11th just as Morales’ putter went cold, and he could only play par golf from there. The 22-year-old De la Fuente, who was runner-up in 2022, saved his best for last, putting his approach to tap-in range for a birdie on the 17th and then holing a putt from 10 feet for a closing birdie to secure a remarkable two-shot win. He follows his “idol” Alvaro Ortiz who won at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019.  An emotional De la Fuente said, “It's a very unreal feeling. Even though I've been preparing myself for the winning moment, the winning put, visualizing myself, chasing the guy that's winning, winning by five. I visualized every scenario possible. Still feels unreal and still feels I don't think there's even words to describe it.”  Morales, who double bogeyed the 18th in the third round after finding water, was the only player to shoot four sub-70 rounds and finished with an eight-under total of 272. He will receive an exemption into the final stages of qualifying for the U.S. Open and The Open. Morales said, “Overall, a good week. I gave it my all today. Not my best day, especially off the tee, which is weird. My driver is the best club, and just simply didn't hit it right. But if I can have off days and not play my best and still have a chance to win, then it means my game is in the right spot.” Andrew Jarvis from the Cayman Islands, Carlos Ardila from Colombia and Andrey Xavier from Brazil finished tied for fifth at three-over. The 10th Latin America Amateur Championship will be played from January 16-19, 2025, at Pilar Golf near Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information on the Latin America Amateur Championship, please visit