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UNM to host elite men’s amateur golf tournament

For the first time, the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, which features some of the world’s most accomplished amateur golfers, will be played in New Mexico.

The 53rd annual Pacific Coast Amateur Championship, July 23-26, 2019, will take place at the 7,248-yard, par-72 University of New Mexico Championship Course and be hosted by the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association.

The prestigious amateur golf event being played in the Land of Enchantment was years in the making. SCAGA is among 15 member associations in the Pacific Coast Golf Association that vie to host the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship.

“We kept pestering them over the past five or six years and they finally gave in to us,” SCAGA executive director Dana Lehner said somewhat jokingly. “We are really excited that we get to play host to a major national event. It’s not something we get to do on a regular basis. It’s a chance for us to show off a great facility and prove to everyone that we can handle the likes of an event like this. We’ll be ready to do it.”

Lehner said there were “rumblings” that New Mexico was an option for the event as of last summer. The UNM Championship Course was attractive because several amateurs in the field are top collegiate players, Lehner said.

The UNM golf course has been the site of numerous regional and national NCAA championship events, including several men’s Division I Championships. Golfweek Magazine recently ranked the UNM Championship Course No. 18 among the top 20 campus golf courses in the nation, and Golf Digest has listed it as one of the top 25 public courses in the nation.

“It is our honor and privilege to serve as the site of the 2019 Pacific Coast Amateur Championship,” Adam Roybal, PGA professional of UNM golf courses, said in a release. “We are accustomed to hosting elite amateur championships and are proud to showcase our nationally recognized facility. We are confident the Championship Course at UNM will provide a great test to the top-ranked amateurs from around the world.”

The Pacific Coast Golf Association has a recruitment committee that issues Presidential Invitations to the best amateur golfers in the world and they gain direct entry into the golf event. The field, open to 84 players, also includes the top three players selected from the 15 member associations.

“The quality of our field and our ability to continuously recruit the game’s best amateurs is directly attributed to the reputation and quality of the venue selected to host,” Troy Andrew, executive director of the PCGA, said in a release.