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  • The First Look: 2019 BMW Jamaica Classic

  • The sixth event of the season takes PGA TOUR Latinoamérica to Cinnamon Hill Golf Course for the third consecutive year. (Credit: Enrique Berardi / PGA TOUR)
    The sixth event of the season takes PGA TOUR Latinoamérica to Cinnamon Hill Golf Course for the third consecutive year. (Credit: Enrique Berardi / PGA TOUR)
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  • MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – After a one-week break, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica resumes its season this week with the third edition of the BMW Jamaica Classic. The sixth event of the 2019 schedule will be played for the third consecutive year at the par-72 Cinnamon Hill Golf Course. The tournament will have 13 top-20 players on the Order of Merit.

    DATES: May 13-19, 2019
    OFFICIAL NAME: BMW Jamaica Classic
    HASHTAGS: #BMWJamaicaClassic #pgatourla #Tourjectory
    SCHEDULE: Sixth event of the 2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.
    VENUE: Cinnamon Hill Golf Course – Montego Bay, Jamaica.
    PAR/YARDS: 72 (35-37) / 6,828
    FIELD: 144 players from 26 countries – Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Finland, France, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
    ORDER OF MERIT: Winner earns $31,500 from a $175,000 purse.
    2018 CHAMPION: Michael Buttacavoli, U.S. (moved to the Web.com Tour in 2019)
    FORMAT: 72-hole stroke play.
    CUT: Top-55 players and ties after 36 holes

    THE TOURNAMENT: The event will be the 119th official tournament PGA TOUR Latinoamérica has contested since the Tour’s inception in 2012. American Michael Buttacavoli won the first of two tournament titles in 2019, capturing this event in weather-shortened fashion. Thunderstorms affected the tournament from the start, forcing Tour officials to reduce competition to 54 holes of play. Buttacavoli, a current Web.com Tour member, shot a final-round 62, giving him his second Tour title. He added a third in December at the season-ending tournament Shell Championship in Miami.

    In 2017, American Jared Wolfe won in wire-to-wire fashion. At 21-under 267, Wolfe defeated Mexicans Gerardo “Jerry” Ruiz and José de Jesús Rodríguez, currently playing on the PGA TOUR. That 2017 title was the first of three Wolfe wins. The other two came at the 2018 Chile Open and the inaugural event of 2019, the Buenaventura Classic in Panama.

    THE GOLF COURSE: The course, originally designed by Hank Smedley in 1969 and redesigned by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril in 2001, is characterized by two very different nines. The first nine holes offer wide, long and flat terrain, with seaside views. The second nine is much narrower, inland and played between hills.

    The golf course offers historical elements that make this venue one of the most unique among PGA TOUR Latinoamérica venues. From the second hole, the Rose Hall Great House, one of the oldest mansions in the area, is visible. To the right of the fairway of seventh fairway are the ruins of an old aqueduct built at the end of the 18th century. On the back nine you can see a home owned by American country singer Johnny Cash and a waterfall that was used for a scene from the 1977 James Bond movie “Live and Let Die,” starring Roger Moore.

    In 2018, players’ stroke average was 70.50, which made this par-72 the easiest golf course of the season. There were 85 eagles, 1,512 birdies, 3,673 pars, 798 bogeys and 126 double bogeys in the event that officials reduced to 54 holes.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Jared Wolfe (2017)

    18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Michael McGowan (third round, 2017), Michael Buttacavoli (third round, 2018), Andreas Halvorsen (first round, 2018).

    PREMIER PARTNERS: As the new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Premier Partners, Volvo Car Latin America, Hilton and Go Vacaciones are joining the Jamaica Classic for the first time. In this exclusive category, the brands of these three partners are integrated into the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica messaging while telling the stories of its players, graduates, tournaments and its participation in the communities where the competitions take place.

    NOTES ON THE LIST OF COMPETITORS:

    Players by country: United States (80), Argentina (13), Canadá (6), México (6), Colombia (5), Trinidad & Tobago (4), England (3), Jamaica (3), Brazil (2), Chile (2), Spain (2), Sweden (2), Australia (1), Bolivia (1), Dominican Republic (1), Hollanda (1), Finlandia (1), Francia (1), Guatemala (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Peru (1), Puerto Rico (1), Scotland (1), Uruguay (1) and Venezuela (1).

    Tom Whitney will play his second event as the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit leader. After his victory at the 88th Abierto OSDE del Centro, the Californian added a tie for 49th at the Puerto Plata Open. He has accumulated $41,055 this season. The BMW Jamaica Classic will be a special week for Whitney, who will turn 30 when the first round of play at the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course begins. After five events, Whitney has not missed a cut. In addition to his triumph in Cordoba, Argentina, he added a top-10 at the Buenaventura Classic.

    Absent this week is Jared Wolfe, No. 2 of the Order of Merit. The former BMW Jamaica Classic champion will miss the opportunity to return to the top of the Tour rankings in a field he dominated from start to finish in 2017. In addition to the three-time Tour winner, four other top-20 players of the Order of Merit won’t be playing in Montego Bay. They are Brazilian Alexandre Rocha (No. 8), American Alex Weiss (No. 13), Australian Harrison Endycott (No. 16) and Chilean Joaquín Niemann (No. 18).

    Order of Merit Standings

    Pos.

    Players

    Earnings (U.S.)

    2019 Season Notes

    1. 

    Tom Whitney

    $41,055

    Abierto OSDE del Centro winner

    2.

    Jared Wolfe

    $39,580

    Buenaventura Classic winner

    3.

    John Somers

    $37,800

    Abierto de Chile winner

    4.

    Cristóbal del Solar

    $36,927

    Puerto Plata Open winner

    5.

    Ryan Ruffels

    $32,947

    Two runner-up finishes

    6. 

    Andrés Echavarría

    $32,430

    Molino Cañuelas Championship winner

    7. 

    Mito Pereira

    $31,557

    Four top-10s

    8.

    Alexandre Rocha

    $24,205

    Three top-10s

    9.

    Augusto Núñez

    $22,470

    Three top-10s

    10.

    Santiago Gómez

    $20,255

    Two top-10s

    Powered by a victory at the Puerto Plata Open, Chile's Cristóbal del Solar will be one of the players to watch this week in Jamaica. The two-time Tour winner (his other triumph was last year at the Abierto OSDE del Centro) moved up from 40th place to fourth in the Order of Merit. Only $4,128 separates him from Whitney's lead in the race to get to the Web.com Tour. With four eagles in 2019, the Florida State University graduate is second in this Tour statistic. He tied for 19th here in 2018.

    John Somers missed the cut in Panama and Cañuelas, Argentina, and it appeared he would struggle during his rookie year. However, the 28-year-old traveled to Chile and by the end of the week he was lifting the trophy, eagling the 72nd hole to win by two shots. Somers is third on the Order of Merit. The week after winning in Chile, he added a sixth-place finish at the 88th Abierto OSDE del Centro.

    Although Augusto Núñez has not won this year, the Argentine has enjoyed a remarkably consistent season. Ninth on the Order of Merit, Núñez has three top-10s and has more eagles (five) than any other player. He also has the second-best stroke average (69.65 in 20 rounds played). The 26-year-old has played 27 events on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica without missing a cut. The last time he was not present on the weekend was at the 2016 Guatemala Stella Artois Open. In 2017 he finished inside the Order of Merit top five and moved on to the 2018 Web.com Tour. On that U.S.-based circuit, Núñez he played 20 tournaments, made 10 cuts and achieved two top-25s.

    Mexico’s Rodolfo Cazaubón will play in Jamaica, his first tournament of the 2019 season. The last time the four-time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica winner played an event in the region was at the 2018 San Luis Championship last year (he finished tied for 15th). The native of Tampico, Mexico, won the Roberto de Vicenzo Award in 2015 as the Player of the Year.

    TOUR LEADERS: The following are the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica stat leaders through five events:

    EARNINGS: U.S. $41,055 – Tom Whitney, U.S.
    SCORING AVERAGE: 69.30 – Mito Pereira, Chile
    TOP-10s: 4 – Mito Pereira, Chile
    LOWEST ROUND: 63 – Alex Weiss and a-Juan José Guerra
    SUB-PAR ROUNDS: 16 (out of 20) – Mito Pereira, Chile
    ROUNDS IN THE 60s: 11 (out of 20) – Mito Pereira and Augusto Núñez
    PAR-5 PERFORMANCE: 46-under – Augusto Núñez, Argentina
    PAR-4 PERFORMANCE: 18-under – Santiago Gómez, Colombia
    TOTAL BIRDIES: 91 – Mito Pereira, Chile
    TOTAL EAGLES: 5 – Augusto Núñez, Nicolo Galletti, John Somers
    YTD CUTS MADE: 4 – Tom Whitney, Augusto Núñez, Jacob Bergeron and Mito Pereira