Power Rankings: Brasil Classic Presented by HSBCtext sizeApril 02, 2013
The Web.com Tour stakes out new territory in South America for the third time in the past four seasons with this week’s Brasil Champions presented by HSBC, the first notable event played on Brazilian shores in more than a decade.
The European Tour made São Paulo part of its itinerary in 2000 and ’01, with Padraig Harrington winning the first stop. Brazil, though, has been slower to warm to the sport as compared to Colombia or Argentina.
With golf set to make its return to the Olympic stage in Rio de Janeiro, the tournament offers the chance for Brazilians to gain familiarity with the sport before some of the world’s best descend on the 2016 Games.
At just over 6,600 yards, São Paulo Golf Club will be the shortest track on the Web.com Tour this year. When the European Tour last visited, Darren Fichardt won a storm-shortened event with a three-day score of 18-under-par 195.
Power Rankings: Brasil Champions presented by HSBC Rank Player Comment Troy Merritt Before a closing 77 two weeks ago in Louisiana, Merritt had opened his season with seven consecutive rounds in the 60s. The Idaho pro also has tasted victory before on unfamiliar soil, winning the 2009 Mexico stop in a playoff. Dawie van der Walt An opening 79 in Louisiana doused his chances before they began, but before that the South African was a Sunshine Tour winner in his homeland at the Tshwane Open in February. Alexandre Rocha The first Brazilian in 30 years to hold a PGA TOUR card is splitting his schedule this year, currently standing 14th in Web.com Tour earnings. Rocha tied for fourth in Colombia, and has a little familiarity around São Paulo GC. Michael Putnam A tie for sixth in Louisiana gave Putnam his second top-15 finish of 2013, with eight of his past 12 Web.com Tour rounds in the 60s. His momentum was slowed, though, by a missed cut at the PGA TOUR level last week in Houston. Blayne Barber The first-year pro earned another Web.com Tour berth by tying for sixth in Louisiana as a Monday qualifier. With two other paydays at the PGA TOUR level, the hard road after last fall’s self-imposed DQ at Q-School has been fruitful.