Fernández Valdés claims two-stroke win in Chile
The 22-year old Argentine shot 70 on the final round to win by two shots and move inside the Order of Merit's top-5
November 16, 2014
By Media Staff, PGA TOUR LA
SANTIAGO, Chile – Argentina’s Jorge Fernández Valdés, 22, became the youngest two-time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champion with a victory at the Hyundai - BBVA 88th Abierto de Chile on Sunday.
Outright leader after a course record-tying 62 in the second round, Fernández Valdés managed to defend the top spot with a final round of 2-under 70. He closed the week at 17-under par 271 to win by two strokes over Joel Dahmen of Clarkston, Washington and Armando Favela of Tijuana, Mexico.
The victory at the Club de Golf Los Leones propelled Fernández Valdés to the fourth spot of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit with only two events left to play this season.
“I’m very happy to win again on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica because it’s not easy to win on this Tour,” said Fernández Valdés, who claimed his second Tour win at age 22 years, 3 months, 10 days.
After playing the front nine, the Cordoba native seemed on his way to a runaway victory. After birdieing 2 and 4, he put together a birdie-birdie-birdie run to close the front nine at 20-under for the tournament. His was leading by five at that point.
“I played really well on the front nine, but then I couldn’t keep my pace at that same level. I was a bit nervous, the adrenaline kicked in and ran into trouble,” he said about the tough four-hole stretch in which he shot 4-over. He made a double-bogey on 10 and then bogeyed 11 and 13 to have his lead cut to one.
“After a couple of good shots my confidence was restored. I finished well and that’s what matters the most,” he said of staying afloat on last few holes in which he collected one final birdie on 17.
By charging to the top spots of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit, Fernández Valdés was able to skip the second stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. He was scheduled to play second stage starting on Tuesday in Florida, but with the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season ending top-10 players being granted spots into the final stage he is clearly in position to claim that benefit.
“It's a huge relief to skip second stage. I have played nine consecutive weeks and having next week off is just great. I’ll be ready for the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s final two events in Argentina and then I’ll be headed to Palm Beach for final stage,” he said about his busy schedule.
Fernández Valdés is also in position to become the first player to finish the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season ranked inside the Order of Merit top-5 in consecutive seasons. Last year he finished No. 4 among ‘Los Cinco’ who graduated to the Web.com Tour. On that next level, he had a tough rookie season, recording just one top-25 finish and making seven cuts in 20 starts to drop his card.
“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want, so you have to start all over again and that’s why I’m here. I want to make it back to the Web.com Tour,” he said with confidence, hoping for a strong return to that next level.
Weather. Sunny. A high of 86-degrees. Light winds SW.
Jorge Fernández Valdés
This is his second career title on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He had won the Mundo Maya Open in May of 2013 for his first Tour win.
He won this title at the age of 22 years, 3 months, 10 days to become the youngest champion this 2014 season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. When he won his first title last year, at age 20 years, 9 months, 13 days, he became the youngest champion in the history of the Tour. By winning today, he also became the third youngest to win.
Becomes the ninth player with at least two wins on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The list of multiple champions is led by countryman Julián Etulain, who has won three Tour events. The eight two-time winners are Ariel Cañete, Ángel Cabrera, Ryan Blaum, José de Jesús Rodríguez, Timothy O'Neal, Marcelo Rozo, Tyler McCumber and Jorge Fernández Valdés.
His win was the third by an Argentine player this season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. His countryman Julián Etulain has won twice this year. This also happened to be the 15th Tour win by an Argentine player, the most by any country in 40 official events played since the Tour was launched in September of 2012.
With the winner's check for $27,000 he moved up from 17th spot to the fourth in the Order of Merit. His season earnings improved to $61,343.
His 2014 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season record improved to one win, a runner-up finish, five top 10s, six top-25s and seven cuts made in eight starts.
Overall, this was his 29th career start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. His career record on Tour improved to two wins, two runner-up finishes, 13 top-10s, 18 top-25s and 22 cuts made.
A 12-footer for birdie on the final hole helped Mexico’s Armando Favela finish in a two-way tie for second. The $13,200 check for his efforts at Los Leones moved him up to No. 6 in the Order of Merit, less than $2,000 behind the fifth ranked Rick Cochran III of Kentucky.
“I knew I had to make that birdie putt to tie (for second) and I made a very good putt. I already knew I wasn’t going to win, but that putt would help me move up and here I am, fighting for that fifth spot,” said the 28-year old who joined the Tour’s circle of champions seven months ago in Guatemala.
After a disappointing 73 on Saturday, Joel Dahmen got back in contention on this final day carding a 68 to finish in a two-way tie for second for the second consecutive week. “I gave a good run today, but I made a double on 14, which really took some wind out of my sails. I also pared the last two holes and you really have to make birdie there,” he said about the key moments of his final round performance.
Regarding his three-week experience playing on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica he went on to add: “My three weeks down here were incredible. I had a great time. This Tour is a really well ran, the events are awesome, the cities are amazing, so it’s even better to finish second-second. I just had an unbelievable time this last three weeks and I’m very happy I came down.”
Dahmen claimed Player of the Year honors this season on PGA TOUR Canada and will be fully exempt on the Web.com Tour in 2015.
With Fernández Valdés moving into the fourth spot among ‘Los Cinco,’ the following are the updated standings for the Tour’s leading five players through 15 official events:
Julián Etulain, Argentina $92,394
Marcelo Rozo, Colombia $82,917
Tyler McCumber, Florida $77,234
Jorge Fernández Valdés, Argentina $61,343
Rick Cochran III, Kentucky $54,406
Oklahoma’s William Kropp had entered the week ranked fifth, but slipped down to the 8th spot after a T35 finish in Chile. Mexico’s Armando Favela and Illinois’ Brad Hopfinger moved ahead of him.
Three weeks from today, the players who finish the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season inside the Order of Merit Top-5 will secure status on the Web.com Tour in 2015. The No. 1 player will earn full exempt status as well as the Roberto De Vicenzo Award.
Best rounds of the day:
66 (-6) Maxi Godoy, Argentina
67 (-5) Ricardo Celia, Colombia; Martin Trainer, USA
66 (-6) Maxi Godoy, Argentina
68 (-4) James Vargas, USA; Jacobo Pastor, Spain
Two events left to play. There are only two tournaments left to play on the 2014 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule. Both events will be played in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be instrumental on the race to move on to the Web.com Tour. First up is the Personal Classic, November 24-30, followed by the season ending 109th VISA Open de Argentina presented by Peugeot, December 1-7.
Fraustro collects valuable top-10 finish at Mayakoba. Mexico’s Oscar Fraustro, ranked No. 2 among ‘Los Cinco’ who graduated from PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2012, earned his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR on Sunday at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. A couple of 69s during the weekend helped him finish in a tie for the ninth spot at 11-under 273. The 2014-15 season is Fraustro’s first on the PGA TOUR after claiming his TOUR card during the Web.com Tour Finals in September. The top-10 finish at Mayakoba came right before a reshuffle that will improve his status going into next year.