BMW Jamaica Classic attracts rising stars from PGA Latinoamerica tour

By May 11, 2019
Tom Whitney Tom Whitney

The BMW Jamaica Classic, the only stop of the PGA Latinoamerica tour in the Caribbean has, for the third time in as many starts, attracted massive names, guaranteeing wonderful golf at the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course in Montego Bay comes Thursday, May 16. 

The event will feature 144 golfers from around the world, including a few from the Caribbean, where the players have yet to make a significant impression on the tour.

There is Chris Richards Snr, Ben Martin, Dustin Risdon, Wan Ju Lee and Xzavier Wiggins from Trinidad and Tobago, Matthew Marquez, a T&T native who qualified from Barbados’ leg of qualifiers, along with Justin Burrows and Orville Christie from Jamaica.

Those golfers will earn huge experience playing alongside the likes of Tom Whitney, John Somers, Cristóbal Del Solar, and Ryan Ruffels, the best of the PGA Latinoamerica tour this year.

Whitney has steadily improved over the last few years, winning the 88th Abierto OSDE del Centro at the end of April. He is also the Order of Merit leader among the PGA Latinoamerica tour players this year, earning US$41,055 to date. He sits just ahead of Jared Wolfe, a former winner of the BMW Jamaica Classic, on the Order of Merit table.

Somers has also been good this season, sitting third on the Order of Merit chart. He was sixth at the Abierto OSDE del Centro and won the Abierto de Chile back in April.

Del Solar is an exciting 25-year-old, who also has a victory on the tour this year, winning the Puerto Plata Open. He won the Abierto OSDE del Centro in 2018.

Ruffels, at just 21 years old, has not yet won a PGA Latinoamerica tour event, coming close in the Molino Canuelas Championship last month.

His rise to prominence in the region has been noticeable, with the young man already earning US$32,847 this season as well as shooting 56 birdies and three eagles this year, landing him fifth on the Order of Merit chart.

The top players on the tour will be chasing a US$31,500 first prize from a US$175,000 purse as well as points towards the Order of Merit. In 2018, 41 of the leading 50 players on the Order of Merit were part of the BMW Jamaica Classic.

Wolfe won the competition when it debuted on the tour in 2017, while another American, Michael Buttacavoli shot a 21 under par 195, including a course-equaling 10 under par 62, in the third round to win the second staging of the BMW Jamaica Classic in 2018.

Jamaica is the 17th country and the first English-speaking Caribbean nation to host an official PGA TOUR of the Latinoamérica event. The BMW Jamaica Classic is hosted by SportsMax and sponsored by The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Iberostar Resorts and Cinnamon Hill.

The BMW Jamaica Classic really begins on Thursday, May 16 and runs through to Sunday, May 19, however, the action begins before that with a qualifier on Monday, May 13, a welcome reception on Tuesday, May 14, and the Pro-Am on Wednesday, May 15.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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