BEHIND THE SCENES
Tune In: LAAC Field Hopes to Tame Teeth of the Dog January 14, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Chmiel, USGA

Casa de Campo's famed Teeth of the Dog course will be a beautiful but stern test for the 2016 LAAC field.(Courtesy LAAC)

Matias Dominguez, of Chile, turned his victory in the 2015 Latin America Amateur Championship into a lifelong dream of competing on a global stage in the Masters, U.S. Amateur and Amateur Championship. Now, the 23-year-old is ready to cap a whirlwind year by defending his title this week during the second LAAC at Casa de Campo’s storied Teeth of the Dog course in the Dominican Republic.

The championship, a joint effort among the USGA, R&A and Masters Tournament, was established to nurture amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Invitations are sent out to leading players from 29 IOC-recognized countries and territories from the region. This year’s field, comprised of 107 players from 27 countries/territories, includes 65 competitors who have or are now playing college golf. The diverse field – there are 36 players in their 20s, 35 teenagers, 30 who are 30 year old or older, four in their 40s and two in their 50s – all are chasing their own dreams . The LAAC champion will again earn a spot in the Masters, The U.S. Amateur and the Amateur Championship fields. The winner and runner-up also receive exemptions into the final qualifying for the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.

Dominguez, who shot a pair of 76s to miss the cut at Augusta – did manage another remarkable achievement, making a hole-in-one during the Wednesday Par-3 contest. He enjoyed his final year of eligibility at Texas Tech and played in sectional qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and the Open Championship at St. Andrews, but did not make the final fields for each.

The LAAC will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPNews and will include Sean McDonough as host, Andy North as analyst, Dottie Pepper and Billy Kratzert as on-course reporters and John Sutcliffe handling interviews.

  • Round 1: 2-4 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14, ESPN2
  • Round 2: 2-4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 15, ESPN2
  • Round 3: noon-2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16, ESPNews
  • Round 4: 11:30-1:30, Sunday, Jan. 17, ESPN2

David Chmiel is manager of Members content for the USGA. Please contact him at dchmiel@usga.org.