RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Oct. 20, 2013) – Florida’s Ryan Blaum defeated Argentina’s Alan Wagner in a playoff to become the champion of the 60th playing of the Aberto do Brasil presented by Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffo.
His victory at the historic Gavea Golf & CC in the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro was also his second this season on NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. It propelled him from sixth place to second in the Order of Merit.
Paired together on the last two rounds, Blaum and Wagner were two of four players who entered Sunday in a tie for first. Actually, the traffic jam at the top increased to seven players tied for the lead at one point early in the afternoon.
Blaum and Wagner managed to separate themselves from the rest of the field at the very end, turning the battle for the ninth title of the season into a two-man show. They were tied for the lead at 10 under through 70 holes with a par 4 and par 5 to play.
After Blaum made birdie and Wagner bogey for a two-shot swing on 17, Blaum seemed to have closed the deal at the 5,915-yard par-69. However, the par-5 18th, a 486-yard dogleg right to left where both players missed their tee shots left, provided Wagner a chance for some last minute heroics.
The Argentine made a terrific shot over the trees and then sank a 18-footer for eagle that made the crowd erupt. Blaum, who had missed his second shot left into a bunker, failed to make the up-and-down by missing a 6-footer for a birdie and the win to make it a tie for first at 11-under 265.
At the playoff, which took place on 18, the drama dissipated when Wagner hit his second shot past the green and out-of-bounds. He ended up carding a 7, while Blaum sank a 3-footer for the birdie and the win.
“I stayed patient again today, like I did yesterday. I think I was 1-over through six and I birdie three holes in a row, 7 through 9 and that was really big time for me today. I played solid on the back, could have gotten a few more, but I did what was necessary and I was able to get fortune in the playoff,” said Blaum, a three-time All-American from Duke University who turned 30 last Wednesday.
Regarding his battle with Wagner, he said: “Alan played fantastic and I knew I needed to make something happen. He was in trouble on 17 and I was able to take advantage. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the (birdie) putt (on the last) after he made an amazing eagle. Alan played fantastic and all the credit goes him too.”
The 60th Aberto do Brasil presented by Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffo was the first event from the PGA TOUR family ever played in Rio de Janeiro, a one of a kind city that will host the return of golf to the Olympics in 2016.
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Weather. Great conditions. Clear skies during the morning, partially cloudy in the afternoon. Temperatures 77-84 F. Winds SSE 14 mph.
Ryan Blaum. Claimed this win at age 30 years and 4 days... It was his second win in the last three starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica... His previously won the 2013 Dominican Republic in Punta Cana Open on June 1... This was his fourth top 10-finish in eight PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts this season... Became the first two-time winner this season... Became only the third player ever to win two PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events. Previous two-event champions were Argentina’s Ariel Cañete and Ángel Cabrera… While PGA TOUR Latinoamérica had its four-month mid-season break he won an NGA Tour event and made one cut in three PGA TOUR starts, finishing T26 at the Sandersons Farm Championships in July.
Playoff Time. The Aberto do Brasil presented by Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffo was decided in a playoff for the second year in a row. Last year, Argentina’s Clodomiro Carranza overcame Mexico’s José de Jesús Rodríguez for a win that helped him finish among “Los Cinco” who graduated to the Web.com Tour. Today’s playoff was also the third playoff PGA TOUR Latinoamérica has had this season. The other playoff winners were Ángel Cabrera of Argentina at the Abierto OSDE del Centro and Mexico’s José de Jesús Rodríguez at the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC.
Low round of the day. Brazilian Alex Rocha carded a best of the final round 4-under par 65 and secured the solo third spot. A current Web.com Tour member and a member of the PGA TOUR in 2011 and 2012, Rocha scored six birdies and two bogeys today to finish as the leading Brazilian at his National Open Championship.
Changes among Los Cinco. His second Tour win this season allowed Ryan Blaum to claim the second spot in the Order of Merit, moving past Jorge Fernández-Valdés of Argentina, who missed the cut this week in Rio. Mexico’s “Camarón” Rodríguez remains in front, the USA’s Timothy O’Neal moved down to fourth and Colombia’s Manuel Villegas remained fifth. The one dropping off the top 5 was Mexico’s Oscar Serna, who entered the week ranked fourth and now holds the sixth spot.
OHL Round of the Week. The $1,000 prize awarded by OHL to the player who cards the lowest 18 every week went this time to Argentina’s Gustavo Acosta. The 43-years old posted a 7-under par 62 in the third round, making two eagles, four birdies and only one bogey. He finished the tournament T5 to win the award’s tiebreaker to Brazilian Philippe Gasnier, who made his 62 on Thursday and finished the tournament T11. The OHL Round of the Week award was presented for the second time this season.
Next Tournament. The NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season will continue with the Arturo Calle Colombian Classic presented by Avianca. That tournament will be played at the San Andrés Golf Club in Bogota, Colombia – Oct. 28-Nov. 3.