Caymanian golf prodigy Aaron Jarvis has qualified to play with the world’s top pros at the sport’s most prestigious competitions - the Augusta Masters and The British Open - after winning an amateur tournament in the Dominican Republic.
The Augusta National in Georgia is in April and The Open is at St Andrew’s, Scotland in July. Jarvis made birdie on the final hole Sunday for a 3-under 69 and a one-shot victory in a tense ending to the Latin America Amateur Championship at La Romana.
Victory meant Jarvis, a 19-year-old UNLV freshman, earns those coveted spots and he is also exempt into the final stage of US Open qualifying. To put into perspective his achievement, qualifying for a major evades many seasoned professionals. Jarvis will be competing with the likes of champion pros Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and veteran Phil Mickelson – if he qualifies. Tiger Woods is still recovering from last year’s horrendous car crash.
“I can’t even put this into words. What a day,” Jarvis said. “It means the world to me. The opportunity to go to the Masters, the British Open. There’s no young golfer who doesn’t dream of anything but going to those tournaments.”
He will be the first player from the Cayman Islands to compete at the sport’s two most prestigious tournaments.
Jarvis was one shot behind on the Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo. He two-putted for birdie and posted at 7-under 281. Then the waited nervously to see if his rivals would surpass him.
Fred Biondi, a Florida freshman from Brazil, had a one-shot lead until he hit a poor shot at the 17th. It was just as painful for Santiago De La Fuente of Mexico and Vicente Marzilio of Argentina who also had victory in sight until they lost their nerve at the death.
Jarvis had seven birdies in his round and although he made some wayward shots and even landed in the water on the par-3 16th, he recovered impressively and finished with a flourish to win.
“I just stayed patient,” Jarvis said. “I knew out there anything could happen, especially with the holes coming in.”
Jarvis grew up in George Town and honed his talent at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Orlando. “I hope to get more kids involved and represent the country well.”