Herik Machado was peerless as he put on a masterclass in the Faldo Series South America Championship. Machado fired three brilliant rounds of 68, 66 and 68 to win by nine shots at Alphaville Graciosa in Brazil. Machado will now play in his third Grand Final in September.
The South America Championship marked its tenth year at a new venue in Curitiba with 62 players from 4 nations competing. Alphaville Graciosa provided a thorough test for the players with challenging topography and windy conditions to contend with. Machado was totally unfazed however, and seized control of the competition immediately with three birdies in the opening four holes.
“I played solid all week but the birdie stretch around the turn yesterday really put me in a great position to win this week. Today I played great and had to really grind out a few pars towards the end to keep my momentum going, and the birdie at the end just topped it off. I love this event and I cannot wait to get to the Grand Final once again,” he said.
South Korean Jinbo Ha was unlucky to share a category with Herik Macado. Ha finished 5 under par with three well-crafted rounds but could not keep pace with the winner. Andrey Borges Xavier claimed the Boys’ Under-16 division with a single shot victory. He defeated compatriot Thomas Choi by the most slender of margins and Borges Xavier will now line up his first Grand Final.
As well as the regular competitions, there was a Mini Faldo Series for players aged 11-13. The youngsters brought enormous enthusiasm and all stayed to watch to their older Faldo Series role models. This was possible through the support of the Conferation Brazil Golfe (CBG) which is working to utilise the exposure of the Rio Olympics to grow golf in Brazil, and South America.
The Boys’ Under-18 category was full of drama as three headed to a playoff. Brazilians Daniel Celestino and Lucas J. H. Park were joined by Guido Damian Fraga from Argentina. All three finished one over par in regular competition before facing off. Damian Fraga dropped out on the first hole before Lucas J.H Park found the water on the third playoff hole. Celestino stood firm to claim the win.
The Girls’ Under-21 category was claimed by Laura Helena Caetano by five shots over Lauren Nunes Grinberg. Grinberg stayed in touch until the final day when Caetano cranked up the pressure to ease away to victory and to her first experience of a Faldo Series Grand Final.
Ana Beatriz Cordeiro overwhelmed the other competitors in the Girls’ Under-16 division as she swept to a 14 shot victory. Cordeiro was totally unthreatened as she built a commanding lead and never looked back. She will now attend her first Grand Final.
Sir Nick Faldo’s personal coach Keith Wood worked tirelessly with local and Brazilian national coaches and conducted a clinic for the members of Alphaville, as well as worked with many of the players throughout the week
Leading final scores:
Boys’ Under-21: 202 – Herik Machado (68-66-68); 211 – Jinbo Ha (67-73-71) 219 – Ulisses de Toledo Junior (68-77-74).
Boys’ Under 18: 217 – Daniel Celestino (74-74-79), Guido Damian (75-73-79), Fraga Lucas J. H. Park (72-75-70).
Boys’ Under 16: 217 – Andrey Borges Xavier (70-73-74); 218 – Thomas Choi (70-74-74); 227 – Guilherme Nunes Grinberg (73-78-76).
Girls’ Under-21: 229 – Laura Helena Caetano (76-76-77); 234 – Lauren Nunes Grinberg Luiza (75-77-82); 240 – Helena Caetano (79-80-81).
Girls’ Under 16: 230 – Ana Beatriz Cordeiro (76-78-76); 244 – Maria Emilia Gomes Pereira (81-83-80), Beatriz Junqueira (80-82-82)
For more information on the Faldo Series visit www.nickfaldo.com
Confederation Brazil Golfe http://www.cbg.com.br/