By: Flynn Bush
On Thursday, January 18th, 108 amateur golfers from the entire region teed off in the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship. The Cayman Islands were represented by three of our finest players, Aaron Jarvis, Andrew Jarvis, and Justin Hastings. Taking place at the Santa Maria Golf Club in Panama City, Panama, a historically difficult course, the stage was set for an exciting and challenging four-day event. The trio had played the previous year, with Aaron and Justin also playing the event in 2022. They knew what to expect and they would prove to be up to the task.
The first day turned out to be a mixed bag for our team as Justin and Andrew both posted respectable scores of 72 (2 over par) and Aaron had a rough go of it posting a 79. Aaron, who it should be noted, won this championship in 2022, found himself behind the eight-ball, so to speak. With just one round, on Friday, to get back on track and make the cut, Aaron knew he had to hustle. Although amateur in status, he is forever a professional in his approach, Aaron attacked the course head-on and cut four strokes from his previous round’s score find himself in safe territory when the cut line was announced. He would be playing on the weekend in the third and fourth rounds, as would Andrew and Justin who had not let up either.
Saturday saw the first under-par score for the tournament from our trio when Justin posted a 67. Andrew continued to keep himself in contention with his third straight 72. Aaron himself, put together what would be his best round with an even par 70.
Sunday dawned with both Justin and Andrew in position to challenge for a place among the leaders. They responded to the pressure in superb fashion and breezed through the course in stunning fashion. After 18 holes of play, both golfers had carded a 67. A top-5 finish was claimed for each- Justin Hastings with a 4th place and Andrew in 5th.
Aaron ended his tournament with a 2-over 72 to rank 41st for the event. He had fought through adversity, and sheer bad luck, to a respectable finish. As every golfer knows, there will always be another day; and another golf course to tackle.
Over the past few years, although small in population, the Cayman Islands has developed a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in golf. It is also evident that we are not just a nation with one immensely talented individual making waves across the sport. Rather, for a country with only one full-size golf course, Cayman is showing just what can be achieved with focus and dedication.