PGA Tour Latinoamerica announces exempt players

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PGA Tour Latinoamerica, which will play its first season in 2012, is beginning to take shape. The tour’s first exempt players – the top 40 on the Tour de las Americas’ 2011 Order of Merit and top three players from Mexico’s Negra Modelo Tour – recently were announced.

PGA Tour Latinoamerica will conduct 11 events in seven Latin American countries in 2012. The tour is expected to conduct two qualifying tournaments next year, including one in the United States.

Joaquin Estevez, a 27-year-old from Argentina, won the Tour de las Americas’ Order of Merit. He had his first career victory in March at the III Copa Antioquia, an event co-sanctioned by the TLA and the European Challenge Tour. Benjamin Alvarado, a former All-American at Arizona State, finished second on the Order of Merit. The 26-year-old from Chile had five top-3s in only six starts.

The three graduates from the Negra Modelo Tour were Manuel Inman, Óscar Fraustro and José de Jesús Rodríguez.

Twenty-three of the 40 Tour de las Americas graduates are from Argentina, followed by Colombia (7), Chile (5), the United States (2) and one apiece from the Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Venezuela. Twenty-four of the 40 players are in their 20s. Ten are in their 30s and six are in their 40s.

• • •

TOP 40 ON TLA’s 2011 ORDER OF MERIT

• 1. Joaquín Estévez, Argentina, 27

• 2. Benjamín Alvarado, Chile, 26

• 3. César Costilla, Argentina, 32

• 4. Diego Vanegas, Colombia, 35

• 5. Julián Etulain, Argentina, 23

• 6. Oscar Álvarez, Colombia, 28

• 7. Maximiliano Godoy, Argentina, 23

• 8. Paulo Pinto, Argentina, 31

• 9. Rafael Gómez, Argentina, 43

• 10. Sebastián Fernández, Argentina, 38

• 11. Nelson Ledesma, Argentina, 21

• 12. Héctor Céspedes, Paraguay, 30

• 13. Emilio Domínguez, Argentina, 26

• 14. Manuel Relancio, Argentina, 28

• 15. Tomás Argonz, Argentina, 28

• 16. Cody Slover, USA, 27

• 17. Luciano Dodda, Argentina, 23

• 18. José Manuel Garrido, Colombia, 33

• 19. Álvaro Arizabaleta, Colombia, 20

• 20. Federico Damus, Argentina, 26

• 21. Leandro Marelli, Argentina, 20

• 22. Francisco Cerda, Chile, 32

• 23. Christian Espinoza, Chile, 22

• 24. Sebastián Saavedra, Argentina, 25

• 25, Gustavo Acosta, Argentina, 41

• 26. Wolmer Murillo, Venezuela, 30

• 27. Rafael Romero, Colombia, 38

• 28. Guillermo Pumarol, Dominican Republic, 22

• 29. Santiago Rivas, Colombia, 25

• 30. Santiago Russi, Chile, 25

• 31. Daniel Barbetti, Argentina, 28

• 32. Manuel García, Argentina, 25

• 33. Jesús Rivas, Colombia, 43

• 34. Alan Wagner, Argentina, 22

• 35. Vince Covello, USA, 29

• 36. Roberto Cóceres, Argentina, 45

• 37. Rodolfo González, Argentina, 44

• 38. Hugo León, Chile, 27

• 39. Daniel Altamirano, Argentina, 33

• 40. Mauricio Molina, Argentina, 44

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