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Storylines - Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch

This is the first of seven tournaments left to play this season on NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica

Former World No. 1 David Duval accepted a sponsor exemption to play this week in Puerto Rico. Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR

DORADO, PUERTO RICO – OCTOBER 7, 2013.

After a four-month break the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica 2013 season resumes with the Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch. The eighth event on the Tour’s 14-tournament schedule will be played at the Dorado Beach Resort & Club’s East Course in Dorado, Puerto Rico. The remaining seven events of the season will be played in a span of nine weeks and will determine the top-5 players – “Los Cinco” – that will earn Web.com Tour status for 2014.

PUERTO RICO CLASSIC PRESENTED BY MERRILL LYNCH

  • October 10-13
  • Dorado Beach Resort & Club (East Course)
  • Dorado, Puerto Rico
  • 2012 Winner: Sebastián Vázquez (Mexico)
  • Tournament Website: http://prclassic.com
  • Twitter: @PRClassicLATAM
  • Hashtag: #PRClassic

LOS CINCO. In their respective order, José de Jesús Rodríguez (Mexico), Jorge Fernández-Valdés (Argentina), Timothy O’Neal (USA), Oscar Serna (Mexico) and Manuel Villegas (Colombia) are the players entering this second half of the season holding the top-5 spots in the Order of Merit. For more on their performance this season log on to or Order of Merit section

WILL “CAMARÓN” RODRÍGUEZ REMAIN A SOLID No. 1? The 32-year old from Irapuato, Mexico is back as the man to beat at the top of the Order of Merit. He collected top-10 finishes in each of his last five Tour starts, including a victory at the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC in Uruguay and three other top-3 finishes. Rodríguez, a man who limits his mistakes to only two bogeys per round, returns holding the Tour’s lowest scoring average at 69.79 strokes in 24 rounds. Over the past few months Rodríguez managed to stay in shape by competing on the Mexican Tour, where he won his fourth tournament of the season last month at the Chihuahua CC, carding a career-low 60 in the opening round on his way to winning the 54-hole event by seven shots.

FORMER WORLD No .1 DAVID DUVAL JOINS THE FIELD. David Duval accepted a sponsor exemption to compete in the Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch. The 41-year old whose 13 PGA TOUR career wins include the 2001 Open Championship and the 1999 PLAYERS Championship, will be making his first career start on NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In 1999, a season in which he won four times on the PGA TOUR, Duval was able to move ahead of Tiger Woods as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The only other Major champion who has competed on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is Ángel Cabrera, who won in both of his starts at the 107th VISA Open de Argentina in December and at the 82nd Abierto OSDE del Centro in April.

STEVEN FOX TO MAKE HIS PRO DEBUT. The 2012 U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox has also accepted a sponsor exemption to make his professional debut this week in Puerto Rico. The 22-year old from Hendersonville, Tenn. made nine starts as an amateur on the PGA TOUR this past season, including The Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open and the British Open. He missed the cut in all of those events. Fox enjoyed a stellar career at UTC Chattanooga University and was also a member of the USA team that won the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey. Other former USGA champions on the field are PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member Corbin Mills and sponsor exempt T.J. Vogel, winners of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 2011 and 2012.

KEEP AN EYE ON RYAN BLAUM. Florida’s Ryan Blaum was the last player to win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, claiming the Dominican Republic Open by two strokes on June 1st. That win left him less than $2,000 in earnings short of the fifth spot in the Order of Merit. While PGA TOUR Latinoamérica was on his mid-season break he made one cut in three PGA TOUR starts, finishing T26 at the Sandersons Farm Championships in July. Earlier that month he also won an NGA Tour event in Mississippi.

RAFA CAMPOS, LOCAL FAVORITE. After missing the inaugural edition of this tournament last year because he was playing a PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament in Florida, Rafael Campos will be making his first Puerto Rico Classic start as the top local favorite. The 25-year old from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico enters this event ranked No. 24 in the Order of Merit following a first-half of the season in which he made six cuts in seven starts and collected three top-25 finishes. Campos’ best finish this season was T6 at the Mundo Maya Open in Mexico last July. A victory at home would give him a great opportunity to finish the week among the top-5 players in the Order of Merit. Last March Rafa was the only Puerto Rico to make the cut at the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com.

WORLD CLASS VENUE. The Dorado Beach Resort & Club is a legendary venue that hosted the World Cup twice in 1961 and 1994. It has also hosted LPGA Tour and Champions Tour events in the past. Back in the early days Dorado Beach and its founders, the Rockefeller family welcomed personalities such as Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, whose golf outings only a few yards away from the Atlantic Ocean are still remembered warmly by the locals. The East Course, home of the Puerto Rico Classic for the second straight year, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. It underwent a major renovation a couple of years ago and once again is expected to provide a terrific challenge to a field of approximately 135 competitors.

MORE ON THE HOST VENUE:

  • Dorado Beach Resort & Club (East Course)
  • Dorado, Puerto Rico
  • Par-72 – 36/36 – 7,231 yards
  • Designed: 1958 – Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
  • Renovation: 2011 – Robert Trent Jones II
  • Website: http://www.doradobeach.com

OHL -ROUND OF THE WEEK. Starting this week the player posting the lowest 18-hole score of the tournament will claim the OHL-Round of the Week Award. That player will receive a $1,000 check courtesy of new Tour sponsor OHL. In case of a tie, the player finishing best on the leaderboard will be win this new weekly award.

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