Uruguayans on top at Latam Travel Advisors Golf Tournament
Panamanian travel advisor Vicente De La Fuente plays a shot during the first day of the Latin America Travel Advisors Golf Tournament at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios, St Ann, on Sunday

Horizon Travel, a travel advisory based in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the champion team of the eighth Latin America Travel Advisors tournament.

The team of Gabriel Ustinelli (captain), Rodrigo Gimenez, Alvaro Firpo, and Gustavo Pinasco defeated 18 other teams over two days of golf at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios, St Ann, on Monday.

The quartet started day two in third place on 36 points and had to overcome day-one leaders David Naves, Edgar Lopez, Nora Deschamps, and Carlos Andrade of Mexico as well as the Panamanian team of Minerva Herrera, Vicente De La Fuente, Tarya Stanton, and Jorge Aragon who started the day in second.

Ustinelli told the Jamaica Observer that this is their second time on the island and they thoroughly enjoyed their stay, although the aim was to better their performance in 2019.

"Winning for the first time is great," he said. "We finished in third place three years ago and now we were trying our best. We are very, very happy to play well and enjoy the field and enjoy the tournament. Everything was okay."

Ustinelli said that while they are amateur golfers, they play up to twice per week and were looking forward to the challenge presented by the course at Sandals.

"It's a challenge on this course," he said. "It's very well presented and an amazing field. The front nine was really, really amazing, nice views, nice greens, everything was a challenge. The second one was easier but nevertheless, an amazing field. We really enjoyed playing here. We hope to be here next year to defend our title."

The tournament was geared at providing friendly competition for Latin American travel advisors — comprising experienced golfers and newcomers to the sport who want to learn and enjoy the experience of golfing at Sandals.

"We came here to enjoy the invitation and to know the facilities of Sandals in Jamaica and to do our work as a travel agency," Ustinelli said. "Jamaica is amazing. We had the opportunity to learn a little more about it. Sandals has tremendous facilities here. We knew [Royal] Plantation, the Beach Club, we enjoyed all the facilities of the resorts."

Sandals' National Manager of Golf Sales, Jake Coldiron, is thrilled by how well the travel advisors received the tournament and the stay at Sandals.

"This year we had 19 teams so it was a great event and everybody was so happy, there was so much energy, enthusiasm," Coldiron said. "You could just see the smiling faces and different countries were represented, from Argentina to Costa Rica, so overall it was a great event.

"We had so many different levels of golfers – beginners, professionals, we had amateurs, but everybody seemed like they were having a good time. It didn't matter if you never picked up a golf club before or if you're a professional golfer. Everybody was getting along really well and, overall, the ultimate goal was to get business to Jamaica and have the travel advisors book Sandals and Beaches. I think they had fun and, also, I see Sandals and Beaches getting a good amount of business in return."

Eighty golfers across 19 teams representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay were in action.

— Rachid Parchment

The team of Gabriel Ustinelli (captain, second right), Rodrigo Gimenez (left), Gustavo Pinasco (second left), Alvaro Firpo (right) representing Horizon Travel of Montevideo, Uruguay, celebrate at the awards ceremony of the Latin America Travel Advisors Golf Tournament played at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios, St Ann, earlier this week. Also pictured is Maria Espina of Mexico.Contributed
COLDIRON... It was a great event and everybody was so happy, there was so much energy, enthusiasmContributed

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