By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 20/01/19 9:49pm
Alvaro Ortiz secured a place at this year’s Masters after claiming a two-stroke victory at the Latin America Amateur Championships.
The Mexican birdied his final two holes to post a six-under 66 at the ‘Teeth of the Dog’ course in the Dominican Republic and hold off nearest challenger Luis Gagne.
Gagne matched Ortiz’s 66 to finish on 12 under and take second, with Luis Fernando Barco a further three strokes back in third ahead of 2017 champion Toto Gana.
“It is huge for sure,” Ortiz said. “Hopefully I will do the same as what Joaquin (Niemann, last year’s winner, who is now a professional) did last year, maybe get some tour exemptions after the Masters.”
Ortiz, who finished runner-up each of the previous two years and whose brother Carlos plays on the PGA Tour, birdied two of his opening five holes but lost his lead to Gagne with a bogey at the par-four eighth.
The Mexican responded by eagling the par-five 11th and making a close-range gain at the next, before moving ahead with a tap-in birdie on the penultimate hole.
Gagne had held a share of the lead until he failed to get up-and-down from a bunker to save par at the 17th and dropped two behind, allowing Ortiz to seal victory with a two-putt birdie at the last.
Ortiz also earns full exemptions into the Amateur Championship, U.S. Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship. He also is exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush and the US Open at Pebble Beach.