Park the victor at Faldo Series South America

5 June 2018

Sao Paulo, Brazil (5 June): Lucas Park won a thrilling three-way playoff to claim an incredible victory at the Faldo Series South America Championship at São Fernando Golf Club in Brazil. Park battled with Thomas Choi and Giovanna Fernandez Lopez after the youngsters could not be split over 54 holes. Park was euphoric upon sealing his win and booking his place in the 22nd Faldo Series Grand Final.

"I'm very happy, I’ve never shouted so much in my life as when I holed the winning putt. I have trained a lot since I lost in the playoff last year and the result came out perfect this season", said Lucas Park after the win. "Now I will continue giving my maximum to play well in the Grand Final", he added. Park also commented on his last round with Paraguayan Giovanna: "She's only fifteen and plays very well, I was pleasantly surprised by her quality and the high technical level of the last round we played together".

The South America Championship proved a magnet for some of the continents brightest young golfing stars. 82 golfers hailing from six nations competed over three days, drawn by the prestige of the tournament and the tantalising prospect of qualifying for the Faldo Series Grand Final.

‘I kept a close eye on the Championship in Brazil as it’s a tournament I’m extremely proud of.’ Six-time Major Champion Sir Nick Faldo commented. ‘Every year there’s a new star and the players keep getting better and better. The Brazilian Golf Confederation care a lot about developing golf and it is bearing fruit. South American golf is certainly on the rise with the successes of former Faldo Series player, Joaquín Niemann, on the PGA Tour and we hope that many more players from the region will follow in his footsteps.’

Park fired rounds of 74, 68 and 71 to end on 213 but he had company. Another Brazilian - Thomas Choi shot 75, 72 and a stunning 66 to finish on the same score. Paraguayan Giovanna Fernandez Lopez went round in fine style to card 71, 70 and 72. The three-way playoff for the overall classification also decided who of Park and Choi would claim the Boys’ Under-18 division. In the playoff Lopez fell at the first extra hole and Park prevailed on the second against Choi with a birdie.

Park claimed the ultimate prize but there were four more Grand Final tickets available for the age category winners. The Boys’ Under-21s was won by Filipe Rossi of Brazil who started brilliantly with a 68 and sealed the three-shot division win with a 74 and a 75. Rossi will now line up in his first Faldo Series Grand Final.

The Boys’ Under-16s was decided by another high octane playoff with fine margins. Nicolas Cimadevilla of Equador faced off against Brazilain Guilherme Grinberg with a considerable crowd surrounding the hole - eager to see the action. On the first playoff hole both hit superb wedge shots with Grinberg just 10 feet from the pin - but 4 feet back from Cimadevilla’s sublime effort. As Grinberg’s effort slipped past by the edge of the hole the Ecuadorian kept his cool for the birdie putt and the win.  

The Girls’ Under-21 division was won in convincing fashion by Paraguay’s Viviana Maria Prette. Prette fired 77, 71 and 77 to easily hold off her challengers and confirm qualification for the Grand Final alongside compatriot Giovanna Fernandez Lopez who played majestically to give herself a shot at overall victory. Although the young Paraguayan fell at the playoff she will be delighted with her three days. Her rounds of 71, 70 and 72 were too much for her fellow Under-16 players and she will go into her first Grand Final brimming with confidence.

Sir Nick Faldo’s personal coach Keith Wood worked closely with the Brazilian National coaches and instructors from São Fernando Golf Club. All worked in tandem to provide support for the players throughout the week and provide pointers on all aspects of the game. The São Fernando Golf Club members were also treated to some world-class coaching.

The Brazilian Golf Confederation is devoted to grassroots golf and has thrown its support behind junior golf development. Once again the famed ‘Mini Faldo Series’ for Under-13’s and 11’s took place alongside the main tournament. Twenty children experienced the thrill of tournament golf and then were inspired to see the action unfolding in the Faldo Series proper.

Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

Leading final scores:

Boys’ Under-21:

217 – Filipe. L. Rossi 68-75-74

220 – Breno Domingos da Silva 75-72-73

223 – Denis Ryota Kakimoto 73-76-74

Boys’ Under 18:

213 – Lucas J. H. Park 74-68-71

213 – Thomas Choi 75-72-76

224 – Andrey Borges Xavier 77-69-78

Boys’ Under-16:

221 – Nicolas Cimadevilla 75-74-72, Guilherme Nunes Grinberg 72-72-77

229 – Tomas Afonso Ribeiro 75-77-77

Girls’ Under-21:

225 – Viviana Maria Prette 77-71-77

238 – Laura Helena Caetano 83-76-79

251 – Karen Hoshino 83-85-83

Girls’ Under-16:

213 – Giovanna Fernandez Lopez 71-70-72

237 – Damini Ghanshyani 80-76-81

251 – Maria Bethania Fernandez 85-80-86