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.”