Clubs will be swinging this month as two big golf tournaments take place in Costa Rica. The Tour de las Américas and Canadian Tour-sponsored Costa Rica Golf Classic teed off yesterday at Reserva Conchal in the northwestern Guanacaste province. Distinguished competitors include Ecuadoran Rafael Ponce and Salvadoran Fernando Figueroa from the Tour de las Américas, and U.S. citizens Daniel Im and Byron Smith from the Canadian Tour. Also among the 136 invited players are four Ticos and two U.S. citizens residing in Costa Rica, including Clark Burroughs, a former PGA Tour player who has retired here.
The tournament has a $125 million jackpot. The overall winner gets $20 million, and the rest of the money is split among the top 70 players, according to tournament director Ricardo Baldivieso.
Play continues through Dec. 14. Also, the Latin American Golf Channel and the National Golf Association are teaming up to produce a series of tournaments culminating in the Latin American Golf Channel Championship Final.
The tournaments will be divided into four days of qualifying rounds and a national final, and the winners will make up Costa Rica’s amateur team for the Latin American Golf Channel Championship Final. There will be four categories divided by handicap, and the winner of each category will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a tournament outside of Costa Rica.
Qualifying rounds take place Dec. 20, Jan. 11, Feb. 15 and March 15, with the championship final set for March 29. All games will take place in the par-72 Valle del Sol Golf Course in Santa Ana, southwest of the capital. Enrollment in each game costs $70.
For information, visit the National Golf Association’s Web site at www.anagolf.com.