PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL (2014) – The goal behind grouping a series of events of importance from each country under similar parameters to those of the NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica was a success last year in the first season of the Developmental Series and it continues to grow in 2014.
This season, the incentives are higher with the announcement that those who finish in the top 15 spots of the Developmental Series Final Event will receive status on NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in the 2015 season.
“We recognize that there are many other events of importance in the region which with our help can be organized and developed in a way that can identify the future stars of Latin America,” said Jack Warfield, President of NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. “The Developmental Series, no doubt, assists those who want to take the first steps and join the path towards the PGA TOUR.”
With the confirmation of events in Bolivia and Ecuador as new host countries on the schedule, plus advanced discussions with other countries that want to propel golf and use the Developmental Series to do so, this season promises to be full of action.
The 2014 season is underway and two historic events have already been played in Argentina: the Abierto del Sur and Abierto Norpatagónico. The winners of these events were Nelson Ledesma and Sebastián Saavedra, two of Argentina’s rising stars. Argentina will host another two events toward the end of this year: the Abierto del Litoral and the Ángel Cabrera Classic.
Colombia is another country where golf has grown significantly, and this year it became home to an event of the Developmental Series. Álvaro Pinedo took the title at the Abierto de Golf Copa Ciudad de Barranquilla. Colombia will receive the pros once again at its second stop later this year in Bucaramanga.
In September, a new country will be added to the list of 13 countries that host events. The Developmental Series visits Bolivia, where the Bolivia Open Mitsuba will be played in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, an emerging golf market.
Venezuela also has two confirmed dates. The first will be toward the end of the month at the XXXI Abierto de Venezuela-Copa DIRECTV in Caracas, the other will be at the end of September with the playing of the Abierto de Barquisimeto. Conversations are underway to hold events in Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua.
The Samsung Open returns to La Planicie Country Club in Lima, Peru, to be contested towards the end of October. This event has become a popular stop among players in the region. The club, which is located in La Molina, is characterized by its great organization and attention given to the players.
The Developmental Series Final Event will be played in Ecuador at the Arrayanes Country Club of Quito, from January 12 – 18, 2015. The top five (5) finishers from each event played throughout the year will play in this final event, with the top 15 finishers earning status on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The event will be played the week before Peru’s National Open, the Lexus Peru Open, on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Players who finish in the top five (5) spots will receive fully exempt status for the 2015 season. Those who are position 6-10 will earn status for the first half of the season and will be subject to a mid-season reshuffle. Players who finish in spots 11-15 will earn conditional status and will gain entry after the first 10 players from the Qualifying Tournaments.
Henrique Lavié, who oversees the Developmental Series, commented on its importance, “The Series will have even more strength this year now that it was announced that 15 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica cards are at stake. The Series becomes an excellent pathway for Latin-American golfers who are looking to play on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with more economically viable option, since they can compete in their own countries and play for purses and 15 cards in the final event. This is yet another sign of how PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is helping support players in the region who participate in the different events of the Series this year, while giving the opportunity for events to gain more attention from players and media.”
Last year the Developmental Series allowed five players to earn their spot on the 2014 NEC Series – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The players who finished in the top five (5) spots at the Final Copa Samsung, Felipe Navarro (BRA), Diego Vanegas (COL), Otto Solís (VEN), Marco Ruiz (PRY) and Rafael Becker (BRA), earned the right to be regular players for the 2014 season, five (5) others earned conditional status.