Costa Rican teenager Paul Chaplet became the latest qualifier for the 2016 US Masters golf tournament in January after winning the Latin America Amateur Championship at the picturesque La Romana course in the Dominican Republic. At the tender age of just 16, Chaplet fired a final round of 70 to finish 2-under-par and edge out Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia by one short.
The impressive triumph means Chaplet will be lining up alongside the world’s best golfers in April after receiving an invitation to this year’s Masters. Chaplet said, “It’s really a dream come true, especially at my age, where most kids would be looking at the Masters. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s all you can dream of, really.”
Chaplet will be the second youngest player ever to play at the prestigious US Masters, behind only Guan Tianlang, who was 14 when he managed to make the cut on his debut at the tournament back in 2013. Chaplet is hoping for a similar experience when he tees up at the Augusta National in two months’ time. He added: “I saw how he played, and he played really well. So that means that there is a possibility to play very well, even if you’ve never played in a PGA Tour event or you’ve never played with professional golfers. So, I think there might be a chance that I can do something good when I play there.”
Chaplet came from behind to win the Latin America Amateur Championship as Gaston Bertinotti squandered his 54-hole lead after shooting a final round 77 for a tie for sixth. Luis Fernando Barco, Joaquin Niemann and Alejandro Tosti all tied for third after finishing two shots behind Chaplet. As well as earning a place in the US Masters field, the precocious talent is also exempt into final qualifying for both the British Open and US Open later this year.