Storylines For 2013 Copa de las Americas January 1, 2013 By Christina Lance, USGA

The youngest player in the 2013 Copa de las Americas is 14-year-old Pilar Echeverria, of Guatemala. The oldest competitor is 39-year-old Maria Olivero, of Argentina.

Seven players have previously played in the Copa de las Americas: Erick Morales (Puerto Rico, 2010), Maria Olivero (Argentina, 2003, 2005), Miguel Ordonez (Panama, 2003, 2010), Lucia Polo (Guatemala, 2010), Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez (Colombia, 2010), Monifa Sealy (Trinidad and Tobago, 2007, 2010), and Miguel Tola (Peru, 2003). Olivero, Ordonez and Sealy are playing in the championship for the third time, tied with four other players for the most appearances in championship history: Rafael Campos (Puerto Rico, 2005, 2007, 2010), Martine de Gannes (Trinidad and Tobago, 2005, 2007, 2010), Laura Matthews (Canada, 2003, 2005, 2007) and Francisco Santoni (Dominican Republic, 2003, 2005, 2007).

Twenty-four players play or have played college golf in the United States: Fabiola Arriaga (Mexico, University of Texas at San Antonio); Sebastian Barnoya (Guatemala, Flagler College); Laura Blanco (Colombia, Arizona State University); Rodolfo Cazaubon (Mexico, University of North Texas); Ricardo Jose Celia (Colombia, Nova Southeastern University); Albin Choi (Canada, North Carolina State University); Corey Conners (Canada, Kent State University); Lindy Duncan (United States, Duke University); Edward Figueroa (Puerto Rico, Florida Gulf Coast University); Steven Fox (United States, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga); Augusta James (Canada, North Carolina State University); Erynne Lee (United States, University of California, Los Angeles); Joaquin Lolas (Peru, Florida State University) Gabriela Lopez (Mexico, University of Arkansas); Kelsey Lou-Hing (Trinidad and Tobago, Houston Baptist University); Erick Morales (Puerto Rico, Rutgers University); Rodrigo Olivero (Guatemala, Emory University); Miguel Ordonez (Panama, University of North Florida); Carlos Ortiz (Mexico, University of North Texas); Talin Rajendranath (Trinidad and Tobago, University of West Florida); Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez (Colombia, University of West Florida); Monifa Sealy (Trinidad and Tobago, University of Central Florida); Omar Tejeira (Panama, St. Thomas University); and Chris Williams (United States, University of Washington). Additionally, Lucia Polo (Guatemala) has committed to attend the University of Tennessee in 2013.

Thirteen male players have represented their countries at the World Amateur Team Championship: Sebastian Barnoya (Guatemala, 2012); Rodolfo Cazaubon (Mexico, 2010, 2012); Ricardo Jose Celia (Colombia, 2012); Albin Choi (Canada, 2010, 2012); Corey Conners (Canada, 2012); Steven Fox (United States, 2012); Jorge Garcia (Venezuela, 2012); Joaquin Lolas (Peru, 2008, 2010, 2012); Erick Morales (Puerto Rico, 2004, 2012); Carlos Ortiz (Mexico, 2010, 2012); Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez (Colombia, 2010, 2012); Miguel Tola (Peru, 2004); and Chris Williams (United States, 2012).

Thirteen female players have represented their countries at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship: Delfina Acosta(Argentina, 2012); Laura Blanco (Colombia, 2010, 2012); Claudia De Antonio (Venezuela, 2012); Pilar Echeverria (Guatemala, 2012); Augusta James (Canada, 2012); Brooke Mackenzie Henderson (Canada, 2012); Erynne Lee (United States, 2012); Gabriela Lopez (Mexico, 2010); Kelsey Lou-Hing (Trinidad and Tobago, 2006); Maria Alejandra Merchan (Venezuela, 2012); Maria Olivero (Argentina, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012); Lucia Polo (Guatemala, 2010, 2012); and Monifa Sealy (Trinidad and Tobago, 2006, 2010).

World Amateur Golf Ranking Top 100 (as of Jan. 2)

1. Chris Williams (USA)
17. Steven Fox (USA)
18. Albin Choi (Canada)
38. Corey Conners (Canada)
55. Miguel Tola (Peru)

Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking Top 100 (as of Jan. 2)

9. Lindy Duncan (USA)
30. Erynne Lee (USA)
41. Brooke Mackenzie Henderson (Canada)
67. Delfina Acosta (Argentina)
90. Maria Olivero (Argentina
92. Augusta James (Canada)

Storylines – Alphabetical by Country


Delfina Acosta won the 2012 South American Amateur Championship, as well as the 2010 and 2011 Chile Junior Opens. She was the runner-up at the 2012 Argentine Amateur. 

Maria Olivero recently played in her 11th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, the third most in that championship’s history. She won the South American Amateur Championship in 2009 and has won the Argentine Match Play and Stroke Play nine times each. Olivero is a stay-at-home mother with two children.

Jaime Lopez Rivarola won the 2012 Campeonato Internacional Juvenil held in Colombia, and he was the runner-up at the 2012 Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship.

Alejandro Tosti tied for 10th and was the low amateur at the 2012 Visa Open de Argentina, conducted by the PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

Acosta and Olivero were members of the Argentine Team that won the 2012 Copa los Andes. 


Albin Choi earned low-amateur honors at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open, won the 2012 Ontario Amateur Championship and reached the round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship. He also finished tied for first in stroke play at the 2012 North & South Men’s Amateur Championship. Choi was named to the 2012 Division I PING All-America honorable-mention team.

Corey Conners is the reigning Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Year and was named to the 2012 Division I PING All-America honorable-mention team. He tied for fourth individually at the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and placed fourth at the 2012 Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.

In 2012, Brooke Mackenzie Henderson became the youngest player (male or female) to win a professional event when she won a CN Canadian Women’s Tour event at 14 years, 9 months and 3 days. She is the reigning Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls Championship and Ontario Junior Girls Championship titleholder, and she qualified for match play at the 2012 Ladies’ British Open Amateur, U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur championships.

Augusta James was named the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. She tied for second at the 2012 Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship after winning the title in 2010 and 2011, and reached the round of 16 at the 2012 Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship. She was born on the day of the first round of the 1993 Masters Tournament and was named after the town of Augusta, Ga.

Conners, Henderson and James are members of Team Canada’s National Squad, while Choi is a past member of the team.


Laura Blanco won the 2010 Colombian Open and was the 2006 Colombian national junior champion. In 2007, she won the Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls Championship and became that event’s first international champion.

Ricardo Jose Celia was a member of the Nova Southeastern University men’s golf team that won the 2012 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship. Celia scored the winning point in his team’s victory over Chico State and received Division II PING All-America third-team honors.

Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez received Division II PING All-America honorable-mention honors in 2011 following his senior season at the University of West Florida. He made his only career hole-in-one on Doral’s White Course.

Maria Camila Serrano was the runner-up at the 2012 Campeonato Internacional Juvenil.


Sebastian Barnoya won the 2010 and 2011 Guatemala National Junior Championships. He was the runner-up at the 2012 Guatemala National Championship.

Pilar Echevarria was the runner-up at the 2012 Guatemala Open. She won the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 Central American Junior Championships, as well as the 2011 Junior Guatemala Open.

Lucia Polo won the Carolinas Golf Association’s 2012 Carolinas Junior Girls Championship. Polo, a four-time member of the Guatemalan National Team (2009-12), won the 2012 Guatemala National Championship, as well as the National Junior Championship. She also won the Guatemala Open four times, from 2009 to 2012.

Rodrigo Olivero won the 2000 Guatemala Open at age 16.


Fabiola Arriaga won the 2011 Alamo Invitational for the University of Texas at San Antonio. She was named 2012 Southland Conference Women’s Golfer of the Year.

Rodolfo Cazaubon won the 2012 Lone Star Invitational and finished in a three-way tie for first at the 2012 Graeme McDowell Shoal Creek Invitational. He won the 2010 Mexican Amateur Championship.

Gabriela Lopez qualified for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Championship. Lopez won the 2011 Mexican National Junior Championship.

Carlos Ortiz won the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Championship and is the conference’s three-time player of the year. He has also represented Mexico at the World University Games and Spirit International.

Cazaubon and Ortiz teamed with countryman Sebastian Vasquez to finish second at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship, earning Mexico its first championship medal. They are also teammates at the University of North Texas.


Miguel Ordonez shot 64 at the 2005 Atlantic Sun Championship, which stands as the lowest 18-hole score in the history of the University of North Florida men’s golf team. The winner of the 2012 Panama Amateur, Ordonez is the director of membership sales at Santa Maria Golf and Country Club and the general manager of SLS Inc.

In 2012, Omar Tejeira became the first player from St. Thomas University to win NAIA All-America first-team honors. He was the 2012 Sun Conference individual champion and player of the year, and advanced to the NAIA National Championship, where he finished 25th, and was the Sun Conference player of the year. Competing at the Memphis, Tenn., Sectional Qualifying site, Tejeira came within two strokes of qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Open


In 2009, Joaquin Lolas won the Mexican Amateur Championship and was the runner-up at the Brazilian Amateur Championship, Lima International Amateur, Brazilian Amateur Championship and AJGA Scott Robertson Memorial Tournament.

Miguel Tola won the Peru International Junior in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2012.


Edward Figueroa won the 2012 Puerto Rico Junior Open, which earned him an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.

Erick Morales won the 2009 and 2011 Caribbean Amateur Championship and received 2011 golfer of the year honors from the Puerto Rico Golf Association. He owns his own business called Optical Tree.


Kelsey Lou-Hing won the 2011 Great West Conference Championship individual title and was the runner-up in 2012. She was the runner-up at the 2012 Caribbean Amateur Championship.

Matthew Marquez won the 2012 Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship.

Talin Rajendranath was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Junior Team that finished third at the 2011 Caribbean Team Championship. He finished third in the stroke-play portion of the championship.

Monifa Sealy was named to the 2012 All-Conference USA third team. She was named the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association’s golfer of the year in 2009 and 2010.


Lindy Duncan was a member of the 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team. She made the cut at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, and also competed in the 2009 Women’s Open. Duncan has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year each of her three years at Duke University, and was named to the NGCA’s All-America first team in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Duncan won the 2010 Dixie Amateur Championship.

Steven Fox won the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship. He is a two-time All-Southern Conference selection who made the conference All-Freshman team in 2010. In 2011, Fox won the Tennessee Golf Association Match Play Championship.

Erynne Lee won the 2012 Pacific Coast Intercollegiate. She went on to earn Pac-12 Conference and Division I Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the NGCA All-America first team. Lee qualified for the 2008 and 2011 U.S. Women’s Opens.

Chris Williams,a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, won the 2012 Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Williams won the 2012 Western Amateur, while also earning stroke-play medalist honors there in 2011 and 2012. He also won the 2012 NCAA Southwest Regional and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship. Williams competed in the 2011 U.S. Open.

Fox and Williams teamed with Justin Thomas to win the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship.


Claudia De Antonio, who attends the American Heritage School in Florida, won the 2012 AJGA Florida Junior. She was the PGA of America South Florida Section’s 2012 player of the year.

Jorge Garcia, who also attends American Heritage, won the state’s 2012 1A individual championship and helped lead his school to the team title, the first in school history. He was the runner-up at the 2012 Puerto Rico Open.

Maria Alejandra Merchan was the runner-up at the 2012 AJGA Florida Junior. She also attends American Heritage School.

Gustavo Morantes won the 2012 Venezuelan Amateur. He was the runner-up at the 2012 AJGA Peninsula Junior Classic and the 2012 South American Junior Championship.