Buenos Aires, Argentina (December 1, 2013) – Argentina's Fabián Gómez kept control on Sunday to win with relative ease at the Personal Classic presented by Blackberry, the penultimate tournament of the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.
On a final day in which he managed to extend his one-shot lead to as many as four, Gómez carded a 5-under 67 to claim his first victory on the tour by two. A rookie this past season on the PGA TOUR, the 35-year-old finished the week at 19-under 269 at La Reserva Cardales.
With the wind a no factor, his main threat on a day that provided opportunity to many players was Christian Espinoza. The 24-year old from Chile carded an inspired 9-under 63 to put a strong number in the clubhouse and secure runner-up honors.
“I really wanted (to get this win)," Gomez said. "I played very well on Saturday and Sunday and that was key to winning the tournament.”
Another key was his start to the final round. Gomez birdied the first three holes Sunday to get off to a flying start.
After going on to shoot 33 on the front nine, Gómez made four consecutive birdies between 11 and 14 to ward off his worst fears.
“There was no wind today, so there was no chance to relax," he said. "I was afraid that someone could come from behind by shooting 8-, 9- or 10-under.”
To win in Cardales, a town he has called home for the past 13 years, gave him an opportunity to celebrate in front of his friends and family, including his wife Pamela and his daughters Valentina and Melina, who were on site to cheer for him.
Weather. Sunny and clear. Temperature in the mid 80s. Winds were not a factor.
More on Fabián Gómez. This was his first victory in two career starts on NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In his only other start he had finished solo fourth at this same event last year… This was also his second career win in this event, which he won for the first time in 2008… Winner of the 2010 Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Web.com Tour, Gómez has also won the 2009 Abierto OSDE del Centro, the 2009 Roberto De Vicenzo Classic Copa NEC and the Venezuela Open in 2006 for a total of six career wins as a professional… He made 10 cuts in 23 PGA TOUR starts this season, highlighted by a share of second place at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com in March. He finished the PGA TOUR Season ranked No. 128 on the Money List and No. 133 on the FedExCup standings... After missed cuts in the first three (of four) events in the Web.com Tour Finals, claimed a share of 32nd place at the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass
Runner-up and OHL-Round of the Week honors. Chile’s Christian Espinoza carded the low round of the day -- a 9-under 63 -- with nine birdies and no bogeys. His final day efforts vaulted him into second place alone and also earned him the OHL Round of the Week Award.
Espinoza had entered the day in a tie for the 20th spot. He had one last birdie chance on 18, but left his putt just four inches short on the line to miss on the opportunity of matching the course record and additional pressure with a bigger number for the clubhouse lead.
“I played great golf today, with one of those rounds everyone dreams about,” said Espinoza, who had had only one top 10 this season on Tour. “I played well all week, but today I set out to play relax, without pressure. All the putts were dropping, so that was pretty much the difference with the other days.”
Although early in the week Mexico’s Sebastián Vázquez had also cardad a 63, Espinoza won the tiebreaker for the OHL-Round of the Week by finishing higher on the final leaderboard. He earned $ 1,000 that are presented by OHL to the low round of the week in every NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament.
With the $16,200 check as runner-up Espinoza moved from 30th into 12th in the Order of Merit.
No changes among Los Cinco. Following this penultimate event there were no changes among the leading five players of the Tour’s Order of Merit. Florida’s Ryan Blaum missed on his chance to overtake José de Jesús Rodríguez as No. 1, even though the Mexican had missed the cut this week. However, the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 shortened to just $3,571. Meanwhile, Argentina’s Jorge Fernéndez Valdés remained fourth and Colombia’s Manuel Villegas, another player who missed the cut, stayed in fifth place.
These were the final positions and scores of the four players ranked among Los Cinco who played in this tournament :
T33. Ryan Blaum, USA 73-67-72--68 - 280 (-8) #2 OM
T48. Jorge Fernández Valdés, Argentina 69-69-77--68- 283 (-5) #4 OM
T63. José de Jesús Rodríguez, Mexico 70-72--142 (-2) #1 OM
T70. Manuel Villegas, Colombia 71-72--143 (-1) #5 OM
Best rounds of the day
63 (-9) Christian Espinoza (Chile)
65 (-7) Bronson Burgoon (USA) , Matías O'Curry (Argentina), Clodomiro Carranza (Argentina), Sebastián MacLean ( Bolivia ), Jacobo Pastor (Spain) and Augusto Nuñez (Argentina).
Bogey-free rounds (4)
Christian Espinoza , Chile (63), Matías O'Curry, Argentina (65), Gustavo Acosta, Argentina (67), Clodomiro Carranza, Argentina (65).
One week left in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica 2013 season has only a tournament left to play: the 108th VISA Open de Argentina presented by Peugeot, which is scheduled to begin on Thursday at Nordelta Golf Club. A lot will be at stake in the 14th event of the year, with several players looking to claim honors such as the Roberto De Vicenzo Award, the leading five spots of the Order of Merit who will move on to the Web.com Tour and the top 60 who will keep their Tour cards for 2014.