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  • The First Look: 2020 Estrella del Mar Open

  • The Robert Trent Jones II-designed course at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlán, Mexico, is hosting a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event for the fourth time. (Media/PGA TOUR)
    The Robert Trent Jones II-designed course at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlán, Mexico, is hosting a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event for the fourth time. (Media/PGA TOUR)
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  • MAZATLAN, Mexico – With the striking blue water of the Mexican Pacific Ocean as backdrop in Mazatlan’s Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort, it’s time to start a new PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. Proudly carrying the host venue’s name, the 2020 season-opening Estrella del Mar Open marks the start of a race that will culminate in early October with the leading players across a 14-event schedule moving to the Korn Ferry Tour.

    DATES: March 5-8, 2019
    OFFICIAL NAME: Estrella del Mar Open
    HASHTAG: #EstrelladelMarOpen
    SCHEDULE: First of 14 events on the 2020 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule
    GOLF COURSE: Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort, Mazatlan, Mexico
    PAR/YARDS: 72 (36-36), 7,015 yards
    DESIGNER: Robert Trent Jones II (1996)
    ORDER OF MERIT: Winner earns 500 points
    PURSE MONEY: U.S. $175,000
    CUT: Top-55 and ties

    THE TOURNAMENT:

    The Estrella del Mar Open was launched in 2014, joining the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica official schedule for three consecutive years. Known then as the Mazatlán Open, the tournament’s past champions are Tyler McCumber (2014), Tommy Cocha (2015) and Martin Trainer (2016). Trainer went on to win twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018 before becoming a PGA TOUR champion at the 2019 Puerto Rico Open. McCumber joined the PGA TOUR last year, marking two past champions of this event currently competing at golf’s highest level.

    PAST CHAMPIONS

    Year

    Winner

    Scores

    2014

    Tyler McCumber (U.S.)

    71-71-66-70—278 (-10)*

    2015

    Tommy Cocha (Argentina)

    67-68-67-69—271 (-17)

    2016

    Martin Trainer (U.S.)

    71-66-71-65—273 (-15)

    THE GOLF COURSE: 

    Designed by Robert Trent Jones II and open toward the end of 1996, the 7,015-yard, par-72 Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach is well known by PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players. In addition to welcoming this event between 2014 and 2016, Estrella del Mar has also hosted a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament for each of the past five seasons. This venue has also been a Mexican Tour favorite, hosting an event for the past few years, most recently in December.

    On a resort course characterized by wide fairways, Tour players who haven’t been here for the past three years will notice a significant change with the greens. In 2017, Estrella del Mar hired Rafael Alarcón to redesign all the greens in order to make them larger than their original designs. The greens now feature paspalum pure dynasty grass, with the rest of the course keeping its original Bermuda grass.

    Hoyo8-EDM

    This week, players will also play the course using reversed nines, with the original back nine that has its last few holes playing into strong ocean wind as the front nine for the first time since PGA TOUR Latinoamérica landed here. The other nine, where the wind blows more favorably, will have players finishing the tournament a lot closer to the clubhouse. Hole No. 9, a 383-yard par-4 will be played as No. 18, going back to its original green, which is wider and closer to the ocean. That green had not been used recently but was in play for the first three editions of this tournament.

    The following numbers show how the course played during the previous PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments:

    Year

    Scoring Avg.

    Avg. O/U Par

    Cut

    Winning Score

    2014

    74.060

    +2.060

    148 (+4)

    278 (-10)

    2015

    71.804

    -0.196

    142 (-2)

    271 (-17)

    2016

    72.066

    +0.066

    143 (-1)

    273 (-15)

    18-HOLE COURSE RECORD: 62 (-10) Jacob Bergeron (fourth round, 2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament), Juan Carlos Benítez (second round, 2019 Copa Puro Sinaloa, Mexican Tour)

    72-HOLE COURSE RECORD: 264 (-24) Jacob Bergeron, U.S. (2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament)

    FIELD WATCH:  

    This week’s field features 144 players from 20 countries.

    Players in this field come from Argentina (13), Australia (1), Brazil (2), Canada (4), Chile (5), Colombia (5), Dominican Republic (2), Ecuador (2), Finland (1), France (1), Guatemala (1), Mexico (25), Netherlands (1), Norway (1), New Zealand (1), Peru (1), Puerto Rico (1), South Africa (1), Spain (3) and the United States (73).

    There are 21 past PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champions playing this week, including the seven who won Tour events in 2019:

    Player

    Tournament won in 2019

     

    Ricardo Celia (Colombia)

    VISA Open de Argentina

     

    Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)

    Puerto Plata Open

     

    Puma Domínguez (Argentina)

    Neuquén Argentina Classic

     

    Patrick Flavin (U.S.)

    Bupa Match Play

     

    Leandro Marelli (Argentina)

    Diners Club Perú Open

     

    Drew Nesbitt (Canada)

    Abierto Mexicano de Golf

     

    Alejandro Tosti (Argentina)

    Termas de Río Hondo Invitational

     

    Fourteen other past champions are also beginning their seasons here in Mazatlan. They are  four-time winner Rodolfo Cazaubón (4), three-time champions Tommy Cocha and Jorge Fernández Valdés (3) and single-tournament winners Rafael Becker, Isidro Benítez, Samuel Del Val, Armando Favela, Andrés Gallegos, Toni Hakula, Horacio León, Patrick Newcomb, Anthony Paolucci, Alexandre Rocha and José Toledo.

    Of those returning from last season, Patrick Flavin is the player who had the best Order of Merit ranking. The 24-year old from Chicago finished the 2019 season ranked sixth on Tour following a victory at the Bupa Match Play, a runner-up finish at the Brazil Open and a third-place finish at the Shell Championship.

    Tommy Cocha, a three-time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica winner, is the only past Estrella del Mar Open champion playing this week. The 2015 winner will be making his 107th career start on this Tour at this event.

    Canada’s Jared du Toit shot 22-under 266 to claim medalist honors at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament played at Estrella del Mar six weeks ago. He is joined by 13 other players from that qualifier who secured spots into this week and will try to take advantage of that recent experience at this venue.

    Twenty-five players from Mexico are competing this week, with eight entering the season as PGA TOUR Latinoamérica members. The remaining 17 locals received sponsor exemptions.

    Twelve of those players representing Mexico this week are coming from Leon, where they played last week at the Korn Ferry Tour’s El Bosque Mexico Championship. They were led by Isidro and Juan Carlos Benítez, who tied for 29th and 36th, respectively. The Benítez brothers were two of only three Mexican players who made the cut last week.

    Juan Carlos Benítez has shot 41-under in his last seven competitive rounds at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort, winning a 54-hole Mexico Tour event on December 8, at 21-under (64-62-69), and claiming runner-up honors at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament on January 17, at 20-under (69-68-66-65).

    Isidro Benítez, who became the first and still only teenager to win a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event (at the 2018 VISA Open de Argentina, is also entering the tournament on a hot streak). The Puebla native has won the last two events on the Mexico Tour schedule, winning the GGPB Santa Anita on January 31 and the II Copa Prissa on February 7.

    Aram Yenidjeian of Argentina is the only amateur competing this week. He earned his spot by firing a 7-under 65 to tie for second at the open qualifier played Monday. Yenidjeian claimed low amateur honors last November at the VISA Open de Argentina.

    VIVA MEXICO!

    Following the PGA TOUR’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship played in Mexico City two weeks ago and the Korn Ferry Tour’s El Bosque Mexico Championship last week in Leon, Guanajuato, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Estrella del Mar Open makes three consecutive weeks of PGA TOUR golf in Mexico.

    The 2020 Estrella del Mar Open is the 22nd PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event played in Mexico. This will also be the third time an event in Mexico has opened the season, following the Mundo Maya Open in 2012 and the Mexico Open in 2013.

    Overall, the 2020 Estrella del Mar Open is the 130th event sanctioned by PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Those events have taken the Tour to 18 different countries across the Americas.

    Mexico-footprint

    POINTS-BASED ORDER OF MERIT DEBUT:

    Starting this season, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will use points to measure players’ success. The points-based Order of Merit makes its debut this week, with the Estrella del Mar Open winner receiving 500 points, the runner-up 300 and the third-place finisher 190. In the event of ties points will be distributed using the same method currently employed to distribute prize money, with each tying position averaged and points distributed evenly to each player in that tying position. Later in the season, an enhanced 600 points will go to the winner at the season-ending tournament.