- Campeonato Argentino de Aficionados
Campeonato Argentino de Aficionados
The first record of golf in Argentina has Scotsman Valentín Scroggie playing the game in the town square of San Martín in Buenos Aries on 13th March, 1892. The San Martín Golf Club was founded in the Belgrano neighbourhood, shortly before the original Hurlingham Club course was built, and the following year Lomas Athletic Club was founded.
Although San Martín, which later gave birth to San Andrés, is considered the oldest club, Lomas was a pioneer in organizing competitions. Established by English emigrants who were bulding the railway network, the club allowed its members the opportunity to play cricket, rugby, football, tennis and golf in a competitive environment. Two years after its formation, the following notice was issued:
“The Bethell gold medal for the Río de la Plata Golf Championship, to be played on the 15th and August 16, 1895, on an eighteen-hole course, without handicap, according to the rules of the medal play and in accordance with the regulations adopted for the occasion by the Lomas Golf Commission. All players intending to take part in the contest, especially those residing in neighboring provinces or republics, are kindly requested to submit their names.”
Golfers from both banks of the Río de la Plata disputed the inaugural tournament, with George Barker from Uruguay declared the winner, ahead of Mitchell Fortune from Hurlingham in second place and A.D. Dunbar who was third. George Barker was unable to successfully defend his title the following year, ending up second to M. Withington but A.D. Dunbar went on to capture four titles in a row from 1897.
The 1906 Amateur champion John Avery Wright also won the Abierto de Argentina (Open Championship) the same year and the 1907 Amateur champion Frank Sutton won the Open the following year. The 1922 Amateur
is memorable because it was won for the first time by a native player, Federico Elortondo, who prevailed in the match play final that year by beating his opponent 1-Up at San Andrés.
The most prolific winner of the competition is Alberto Texier, who won five events between 1947 and 1973. After losing the 1949 final at Renelagh to Alberto Texier, Hugo Nicora won four in five years, starting in 1952. Raúl Travieso – who played at Augusta in 1968 when Roberto De Vicenzo signed the wrong scorecard – then repeated this four-time winning sequence between 1960 and 1964.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the championships is that not one of the three greatest Argentinian professionals – José Jurado, Roberto De Vicenzo or Vicente Fernández – ever won the event. Back in the days when they were emerging as talented golfers in their own country, it was more of a financial necessity to turn professional as quickly as possible to earn a living.
In the new millennium, a number of finals have been contested by non-Argentinean players, with European winners emerging from Buenos Aries Country Club in 2009 (Romain Wattel from France), San Isidro in 2011 (Daan Huizing from The Netherlands), and Estancias in 2012 (Antoni Ferrer from Spain).
The Argentine Amateur Championship, or Campeonato Argentino de Aficionados to give the tournament its proper name, is organized annually by the Asociación Argentina de Golf, which was formed in 1926. There’s a 36-hole stroke play qualifying phase (with the winner receiving the Kenneth R Gordon Davis Cup, introduced in 1932) followed by a match play competition with a 36-hole final.
Incidentally, the championship should not be confused with the Copa Peretra Iraola, which is awarded to the low amateur at the Abierto de Argentina.
San Andrés GC has hosted the event thirty times, it’s been held at Argentino sixteen times, and Lomas has staged the national Amateur on ten occasions. You’ll not find any of the following courses below as they’re currently not listed in our rankings for Argentina: Club Newman, CUBA Fátima, Hindú Club, Ituzaingó, Lomas and San Martín.
In addition, Montevideo in Uruguay (1900) and Flores (1902) are also not included as they no longer exist.
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B-NL Challenge Trophy