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Storylines: Mundo Maya Open presented by Heineken

The fourth event of the season begins on Thursday at El Jaguar Golf Course at the Yucatán Country Club

A scenic view of the 17th hole at El Jaguar, where the Mundo Maya Open presented by Heineker begins on Thursday. Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR

MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO – APRIL 2, 2014. The NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica returns to Merida, Mexico for the third playing of the Mundo Maya Open presented by Heineken at the Yucatán Country Club. This event and venue bring great memories to the Tour, launched here in September 2012.

This is the first of only two tournaments to be played on the same golf course for the third consecutive season. Named El Jaguar, the par-72 course designed by Jack Nicklaus is a favorite of the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

  • Tournament: Mundo Maya Open presented by Heineken
  • Dates: March 31 – April 6, 2014
  • Venue: Yucatán Country Club
  • Golf Course: El Jaguar –7,334-yard, par-72
  • City: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
  • Purse: US $150,000 – Winner’s share is US $27,000
  • Field: 144 players from 24 countries
  • Cut: Top 55 and ties
  • Tee Times: Mundo Maya Open presented by Heineken
  • Defending champion: Jorge Fernández Valdés (ARG)* Now competing on the Web.com Tour
  • Twitter hashtag: #MundoMayaOpen
  • Tournament twitter account: @MundoMayaOpen

Field breakdown. There are 144 players from 24 countries in this week’s field. The following are the countries and number of players by country: USA (59), Mexico (24), Argentina (23), Colombia (8), Brazil (3), Chile (3), Spain (3), Canada (2), the Dominican Republic (2), England (2), Uruguay (2), Austria (1), Australia (1), Bolivia (1), Germany (1), Guatemala (1), El Salvador (1), Italia (1), Paraguay (1), Peru (1), Puerto Rico (1), Scotland (1), Venezuela (1) and Zimbabwe (1).

Favela grabs local attention. As the most recent Tour champion after claiming the Stella Artois Open in Guatemala on Sunday, Mexico’s Armando Favela is a player to watch this week in Merida. “This is my favorite course among those we play on Tour,” said the lefty, who turns 28 later this month.
When the Tour played its very first event here in 2012, Favela took the 11th spot and then he missed the cut in 2013. If he finishes in a two-way tie for fifth or better, he’ll have a shot at reaching the Order of Merit’s top spot. He currently ranks No. 2, trailing David Vanegas of Colombia by $5,599.
Vanegas didn’t make the trip to El Jaguar this week, opting to rest and recover to be in top shape for the Tour’s following two events in Argentina and Uruguay.

Five wins by Mexican players. With Favela’s win in Guatemala, the number of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victories by Mexican players increased to five. The previous wins were collected by Oscar Fraustro (1), Sebastián Vázquez (1) and José de Jesús Rodríguez (2). Mexico is third among nations with the most wins on Tour, behind Argentina (12 wins) and the United States (6). Despite their success, Mexican players have yet to win a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event in their country.

PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champions on the field. There are seven Tour winners set to compete this week at El Jaguar

  • Armando Favela (MEX), 2014 Stella Artois Open
  • Marcelo Rozo (COL), 2013 VISA Open de Argentina, 2014 TransAmerican PP CRV Open
  • Julián Etulain (ARG), 2013 Lexus Peru Open
  • Sebastián Salem (PER), 2012 Lexus Peru Open
  • Alan Wagner (ARG), 2012 Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC
  • Matías O’Curry (ARG), 2012 Arturo Calle Colombian Open
  • Tommy Cocha (ARG), 2012 Mundo Maya Open

This week’s venue. El Jaguar is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that features five par 5s, eight par 4s and five par 3s. It is in championship shape and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players have been very vocal about how much they enjoy being able to compete here.

  • Golf Course: El Jaguar en el Yucatán Country Club
  • Par/Yards: 72 (36-36) / 7,334
  • Design: Jack Nicklaus
  • Course record: 64 (-8) Oscar Fraustro (2011), Tommy Cocha & Sebastián Vázquez (2012)
  • Opening date: 2008
  • Club Web Page: Yucatán Country Club
  • Club Twitter account: @YucatanCountry

It’s good to win here. A win at the Mundo Maya Open is a good sign for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players. Those who won this event in the past were able to finish the season ranked among Los Cinco who advanced to the Web.com Tour the following season.

  • 2012 Champion: Tommy Cocha, Argentina - Shot 68-64-66-68--266 (-22) for a five-shot victory.
  • 2013 Champion: Jorge Fernández Valdés, Argentina - Shot 67-69-68-73--277 (-11) for a one-shot victory.

Cocha, 22, is the only Mundo Maya Open former champion back at El Jaguar this year. “While practicing the golf course yesterday I wondered how was I able to shoot 22 under. That was an insane score," said Cocha.

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