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Puerto Rico set to welcome future stars of the game

The Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch returns to the Island and brings with it some of the brightest future stars of international golf

Sidney Wolf is the chairman of both the Puerto Rico Classic and the Puerto Rico Golf Association. File Photo Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR

San Juan, Puerto Rico (October 1, 2013) – After a four-month break the 2013 season of NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will resume with the Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch next week at the legendary Dorado Beach Resort & Club’s East Course.

The same venue that welcomed the Tour last season for the inaugural playing of the tournament is all set to welcome a deeper pool of talented players involved in a 14-tournament race for five Tour cards.

“The PGA TOUR Latinoamérica has an even wider reach now, and it is a great platform for promoting golf in the region while showcasing all that Puerto Rico and Latin America have to offer the world,” said Sidney Wolf, chairman of both the Puerto Rico Classic and the Puerto Rico Golf Association.

Besides adding three more tournaments and two host countries to its second season’s schedule, this year the Tour has been strengthened by the addition of NEC Corporation as its umbrella sponsor. Several new tournaments and countries are expected to increase the Tour’s reach throughout the region next year.

The Puerto Rico Classic will also be bigger and better than ever, thanks in part to its new presenting sponsor. “We expect great things from our new relationship with Merrill Lynch, and we will work very had to strengthen that relationship,” said Wolf, who added that the event is also lucky to enjoy significant support from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, which remains the title sponsor.

This second playing of the Puerto Rico Classic should also be more appealing for the local fans due to the presence of top Puerto Rican pro Rafael Campos. Last year, Campos missed the Classic because he was at a Q-School qualifier for the PGA TOUR. This time, the former national champion will look to cash in on his 'home course advantage' to notch a much desired first win on the circuit.

Since the inception of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Campos has consistently proven to be one of the region's best golfers. He finished the inaugural 2012 season ranked 14th in the Order of Merit and is currently 24th halfway through this season. A win in Puerto Rico would not only thrill his many fans and followers; it would put him within striking distance of one of those coveted Top-5 spots that grants an automatic TOUR card and puts golfers one step closer to their ultimate dream.

Other Puerto Ricans, such as current national champion Max Alverio, as well as those who earn their spots at the qualifying events, are also expected to tee it up in the Classic. Other young stars will also be present and accounted for, like last year’s champion Sebastián Vázquez and runner-up Jorge Fernández-Valdés.

Among the competitors receiving sponsor exemptions into this event another player to watch is Steven Fox. The 2012 U.S. Amateur champion played in three of four PGA TOUR Majors this year as an amateur, and is expected to make his professional debut at the Puerto Rico Classic.

“These players, and many others like them, are the future stars of the game,” said Wolf. “The Puerto Rico Classic gives them an opportunity to go up against some of the best players in the region, and it's a truly great show for all golf fans.”

Those fans are also being welcomed with open arms, as attendance is absolutely free.

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