Santiago, Chile – Three Lynn University men's golfers finished in the top-15 at the Latin American Amateur Championship (LAAC) while Toto Gana saw his title defense come up just short on the final day of competition. Gana and Manuel Torres tied for seventh and Carlos Bustos tied for 13th at the Prince of Wales Country Club.
The last day was poised for an intense finish as the top-five golfers, Gana included, were within one-stroke of each other but the Chilean native could not catch his fellow countryman, Joaquin Niemann. The top-ranked amateur in the world, pulled away from the pack early and would go on to win by five strokes ahead of last year's co-runner-up Alvaro Ortiz.
Gana ended the 72-hole event with a two-under par 282, tied with current Fighting Knights teammate Torres. After shooting two-under through the front nine, Gana played the back nine three-over par. Conversely, Torres shot a 72, mixing five birdies and five bogeys throughout the day.
Bustos matched his best day on the links after overcoming a bogey on his second hole of the day. The Santiago, Chile, product birdies three of the next seven holes to hit the turn two-under par. A pair of bogeys on holes 10 and 12 pushed him even, but he birdied his last two holes of the tournament to finish with a 69.
Niemann wins the 2018 LAAC after finishing as the co-runner-up in 2017 to Gana, and in third place in 2016. His five-stroke victory is the largest margin of victory in the LAAC while his 273 is the lowest 72-hole total.
The LAAC is a 72-hole stroke play tournament, with cuts for the top-50 players, plus ties, after 36-holes. The champion receives an invitation to compete in the 2018 Masters Tournament, exemptions into The Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship and final qualifying exemptions for The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie and the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
All three Lynn golfers take the links in the South Florida Showdown dual match against Division I Seton Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 a.m. at Osprey Point Golf Course in Boca Raton. Fans can keep up with the action live by following @Lynn_Knights on Twitter and Instagram.