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  • Paolucci cruises to four-shot win in Cordoba

    The 23-year-old’s impressive victory at Cordoba Golf Club was his first as a professional

  • The champion was making his 18th career start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    The champion was making his 18th career start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • CORDOBA, Argentina – Holding a share of the lead to start the final round of the 85th Abierto OSDE del Centro presented by FiberCorp, a first for him in 18 career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Anthony Paolucci cruised to an impressive four-stroke victory on Sunday.

    Running away early in the round, the 23-year old from Dallas, Texas proved unstoppable at the historic Cordoba Golf Club. Under cloudy skies and persistent light rains late in the afternoon, Paolucci posted a 1-under 70 to secure the win at 8-under 276 for the week.

    Led by the trio of Felipe Velázquez, Charlie Saxon and John Kim, who posted a low of the day 67, six players finished in a tie for runner-up honors. The other three at 4-under for the week were Case Cochran (68), Eric Steger (68) and Joe Affrunti (70).

    “There’s so many challenging holes on this course and there’s so many times where something can go wrong,” Paolucci said about the venue that hosted the third event of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. “I was fortunate to get off to a fast start making birdies on 2 and 3, but I knew my lead wasn’t safe, so I kept pressing and that resulted in a lot of pars, in a lot of key up-and-downs and I’m just very happy to have won this tournament.”

    With Jeff Karlsson of Sweden, who entered the day tied for the lead, and Marcelo Rozo of Colombia, the other player in the last pairing, running into trouble early, Paolucci managed to open a four-stroke lead only six holes into the final round.

    On the back nine, players such Samuel Del Val of Spain, Joe Affrunti of the U.S. and the Argentine duo of Tano Goya and Jorge Monroy tried to make a run but failed to move closer than three shots.

    A very successful player in his days as a junior, Paolucci claimed runner-up honors at the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur at the age of 14. Three year later he went on to finish No. 1 in junior golf's Polo Golf Ranking and claimed Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors. Following three years of college golf at the University of Southern California, he decided to turn pro by the end of 2014 and joined PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for a strong rookie year in 2015.

    “I think I put up a pretty solid season last year. I missed only two cuts in 15 starts and my best finish was third,” Paolucci said. “I missed the first two cuts this year, but that didn’t bother me. I made some adjustments in my game because I just wanted to play aggressive.”

    By collecting a winners’ check for $31,500 Paolucci charged into a tie for second on the Order of Merit, joining the leading five – Los Cinco – who will secure Web.com Tour status by the end of the season.

    “It’s great! That’s the goal we all have playing down here trying to win this Tour or maybe finish in the top-5 to move up to the Web.com Tour. One of my goal was to win an event and I’m just happy I could reach that goal. Now I’m going to try to win some more,” said the ninth youngest champion in PGA TOUR Latinoamérica history.

    As the Abierto OSDE del Centro champion, an event won in the past by world class stars such as Sam Snead, Roberto De Vicenzo, Andy North and Cordoba’s own Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero, Paolucci got off to a strong start on the race for the Zurich Argentina Swing. The competition that unifies the trio of Tour events in Argentina will reward the top performer at these events with a $10,000 bonus in November.

    “It’s a really cool thing what Zurich has done for the three events in Argentina. I look forward to coming back for the Personal Classic and the VISA Argentina Open and trying to add to my total later in the year,” added the champion who was grateful to have his parents by his side this week in Argentina.

    Completing a solid sweep this week, as the top finisher among four players who carded a low of the week 66 Paolucci also claimed the OHL Round of the Week Award.

    PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is now headed to Guatemala, where the third edition of the Guatemala Stella Artois Open is scheduled to start on Thursday. The fourth event of the 2016 season will be played at the Fuego Maya GC at La Reunión Golf & Resort outside the city of Antigua Guatemala.

    Anthony Paolucci interview after his victory at the 85th Abierto OSDE del Centro
    • Interviews

      Anthony Paolucci interview after his victory at the 85th Abierto OSDE del Centro

    NOTES:

    Anthony Paolucci

    Collected his first win as a professional at the age of 23 years, 6 months, 1 day, to become the ninth youngest winner on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

    He was making his 18th career start on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, improving his Tour record to one win, one third place finish, four top-10s and ten top-25s.

    Conditions of play: With the course wet because of the heavy rains prior to the tournament, for the fourth consecutive day players were allowed to lift, clean and place on closely-mown areas through the green.

    Low rounds by day:
    R1: 68 (-3) Derek Rende, Marcelo Rozo, Willy Pumarol, Tom Whitney, Charlie Harrison, Case Cochran
    R2: 66 (-5) Evan Harmeling, Scott Lamb
    R3: 66 (-5) Jeff Karlsson, Anthony Paolucci
    R4: 67 (-4) Charlie Saxon, John Kim, Felipe Velázquez

    Rounds under par:
    R1: 23
    R2: 24
    R3: 21
    R4: 18

    Bogey-free rounds:
    R1: (1) 68 (-3) Charlie Harrison
    R2: None
    R3: 66 (-5) Jeff Karlsson, 68 (-3) Samuel Del Val
    R4: None

    Scoring average:
    R1: 73.56 (+2.56)
    R2: 73.50 (+2.50)
    R3: 71.83 (+0.83)
    R4: 72.63 (+1.63) 

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