MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – After four events in Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina, this week PGA TOUR Latinoamérica reaches its spring schedule’s halfway point with the second playing of the BMW Jamaica Classic. The tournament returns to Cinnamon Hill Golf Course, a venue where six of the players who finished inside the top-10 last year were able to move up to the Web.com Tour by the end of the season.
DATES: May 3-6, 2018
OFFICIAL NAME: BMW Jamaica Classic
HASHTAGS: #BMWJamaicaClassic #pgatourla
SCHEDULE: Fifth event of the 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.
VENUE: Cinnamon Hill Golf Course – Montego Bay, Jamaica.
PAR/YARDS: 72 (35-37) / 6,828
FIELD: 144 players from 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Finland, Jamaica, Mexico, Monaco, Norway, Puerto Rico, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, United States and Venezuela.
ORDER OF MERIT: Winner earns $31,500 from a $175,000 purse.
2017 CHAMPION: Jared Wolfe, U.S. (moved up to the Web.com Tour in 2018)
FORMAT: 72-hole stroke play.
CUT: Top-55 players and ties after 36 holes
THE TOURNAMENT: As the first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event played in Jamaica, the BMW Jamaica Classic enjoyed a successful launch last year. Closing the first half of the 2017 season (June 12-18) American Jared Wolfe won the tournament. He who shot 21-under 267 to win by one stroke in wire-to-wire fashion. Returning to the historic Cinnamon Hill Golf Course for the second consecutive year, this event is organized by Jamaica’s Tour partners Event Managers and Broadcasters SportsMax.
THE GOLF COURSE: The par-72 (35-37) Cinnamon Hill Golf Course, at 6,828 yards was originally designed by Hank Smedley in 1969. The course was redesigned by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril in 2001. The Cinnamon Hill Golf Course works down to the sea and up the hills for a diverse golf experience. The front nine is open and long, while the back-nine is tight and short, giving the impression players are on two different golf courses.
The property is surrounded by numerous historic sites, starting with the Rose Hall Great House, which can be seen from the second hole. There’s a graveyard besides the tee box on No. 4, and winding through the course and especially visible on Nos. 7 and 17 players will find the ruins of an ancient aqueduct built late in the 18th century. On the back nine the summer house of legendary singer Johnny Cash is within sight, as well as a waterfall that was featured in “Live and Let Die,” a James Bond movie starring Roger Moore filmed here in November of 1972.
Last year during the first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica visit to Cinnamon Hill, the scoring average was 71.54 on the par-72 layout, ranking it as the fourth-easiest course played during the 2017 season. There were 15 rounds of 65 or better, including a course-record-setting 62 by Michael McGowan, who had 11 birdies and just one bogey in the third round. The course played soft because of the rainy conditions that forced several suspensions and demanded some competitors to play as many as 33 holes on the final day.
72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Jared Wolfe (2017)
18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Michael McGowan (third round, 2017)
FIELD WATCH: Led by Order of Merit leader Austin Smotherman, who holds the top spot spot since winning the Mexico Open on March 25, 41 of the leading 50 players on the Order of Merit are scheduled to play...In addition to Smotherman, the other 2018 Tour champions who are playing this week are Ben Polland, winner of the Guatemala Stella Artois Open, and Cristóbal Del Solar, winner of the Abierto OSDE del Centro in Cordoba, Argentina... The only 2018 champion not in the Jamaica field is Tommy Baik, who won the Molino Cañuelas Championship a week ago in Buenos Aires and is currently tied for fourth in the Order of Merit...Yet to win this season but carrying a strong momentum is Matt Gilchest. Holding the second spot on the Order of Merit, the 23-year old from Southlake, Texas, is coming off two runner-up finishes in four starts...Brazilian veteran Alex Rocha is also in good shape, coming off two top-fives in three starts. The 40-year old enters the week leading the Tour in scoring, with an average of 68.64 strokes in 11 rounds played.
STORYLINES: This is the 101st event sanctioned by PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and the second tournament in Jamaica...Including tournament champion Jared Wolfe and runners-up José de Jesús Rodríguez and Jerry Ruiz, six of the players who finished inside the top 10 at the inaugural BMW Jamaica Classic are now playing full time on the Web.com Tour. Rodríguez and Wolfe went on to finish the 2017 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season ranked first and second, respectively, on the Order of Merit...Prior to last year’s BMW Jamaica Classic, Jamaica has had its share of top professional golf events in the past, with the Jamaica Open played as an unofficial PGA TOUR event played from 1958 through 1963. Bringing some of golf’s biggest names together in the early 1990s, Jamaica also hosted the Johnny Walker World Golf Championship. Won twice by Fred Couples, the limited field event also brought together stars such as Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els. Some of the top LPGA players played an event called the “Mojo 6” at Cinnamon Hill in 2010. Won by Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, that event featured other top players such as Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen.