On Sunday, Caymanian Aaron Jarvis gave a historic performance at the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) in the Dominican Republic. In the end, he became the first Caribbean golfer to hoist the champion trophy.
The win will see the champion flying the flag of Caribbean golfers at five international tournaments in 2022. These include the 150th Masters’ Tournament, the 150th Open at St Andrews, the 127th Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur Championship, and the final stages of qualifying for the 2022 U.S. Open.
Jarvis was at a loss for words after winning. “Honestly, I can’t even get the words out. I tried to get some good birdie looks, and they went in. I was in a comfortable position because there wasn’t much pressure. I knew all the cameras were going to be with the other groups.”
Fellow Caribbean golfer Jamaican Justin Burrowes shared in his delight. “I am super proud of my very good friend Aaron Jarvis and the win. [He] opened the door for us Caribbean guys. I grew up playing golf with him. I have beaten him; he has beaten me. It just shows that we in the Caribbean have the talent to do it, and to have the guy open the door for us is huge.” Burrowes finished 34th in the competition.
The 19-year-old Jarvis posted excellent scores for the four days of two under par 70 on day one; three-under-par 69 on day two; one over par 73 on day three, and another three under par 69 on the final day.
His final day scorecard showed three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey on the front nine, and four birdies and a bogey on the back nine.
Jarvis’ winning shot
The shot that sealed the championship was his final on hole number 18. Challenged by four other golfers, Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira and Vicente Marzilio of Argentina, Brazil’s Fred Biondi, and Santiago De la Fuente of Mexico, who were just one stroke back, Jarvis made a final birdie. He secured his position as the best golfer of the tournament.
The champion was ecstatic with his win, saying that it was every young golfer’s dream to go to the Masters, and he was happy to realize that dream.
His victory over players from more established and larger golfing nations is a massive result for the Cayman Islands. His home nation has a population of 71,000 and just 27 holes of golf on the three islands.
“Aaron has continuously improved at every level during his golf career. He has the strength and power to play at the highest level, and he complements those characteristics with a contagious work ethic,” said A.J. McInerney, his assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Jarvis’ previous best round at the LAAC was a 73 in the second round at Casa de Campo in 2019, where he missed the cut. His older brother Andrew also represented the Cayman Islands at the 2019 and 2021 LAAC.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this,” said his proud father, Robin Jarvis.