IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa sophomore golfer Gonzalo Leal Montero will compete unattached for Spain at the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship, Thursday-Saturday, at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas.
The tournament’s Opening Ceremony will be streamed live tonight at 5:15 p.m. (CT) on Twitter. The first round begins at noon on Thursday.
The international, Olympic-style event will pair two male and two female amateurs from 19 different countries for a chance at gold. It is a 54-hole, four-ball stroke play competition, with three concurrent categories: international team, men’s team, and women’s team. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the top finishers in each competition.
“It’s a great honor and it means a lot to represent your country doing something you love,” Leal Montero said.
“We’re very proud of him,” head coach Tyler Stith said. “It’s a huge honor to represent your country and I know he is proud as well. He has been working hard and is deserving of this opportunity.”
A native of Seville, Spain, Leal Montero will represent his home country with three other Spaniards.
“I know all of (my teammates) pretty good because we’ve played together in junior golf and on the Spanish National Team,” he said. “They are all great players and good friends, so we are going to have some fun this week.”
Previous Spirit International competitors who now are professionals on the LPGA and PGA TOUR include Jordan Spieth, Francesco Molinari, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Day, Martin Kaymer, Viktor Hovland, Lexi Thompson, Bronte Law, Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Brooke Henderson and Maria Fassi. Spirit alumni have gone on to win more than 650 professional events, including 23 major championships.
“There are a lot of good players, which is always good because you can learn from them,” said Leal Montero, who will be competing with some of the best amateurs in the world. “The golf course is awesome. It’s going to be a great test of golf.”