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  • BUPA CHALLENGE

    Curtis Yonke claims Quito Open trophy, leads Bupa Challenge

  • Curtis Yonke improved his season earnings to $34,773 dollars to charge into the sixth spot of the Order of Merit. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Curtis Yonke improved his season earnings to $34,773 dollars to charge into the sixth spot of the Order of Merit. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
  • In This Article
  • QUITO, Ecuador – Curtis Yonke of Overland Park, Kansas, carded a final round low 6-under 65 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Quito Open presentado por Diners Club. As the only player to post four rounds in the 60s at the Quito Tenis y Golf Club, Yonke finished two strokes clear at 14-under 270. The victory was his first in just four career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

    About to turn 26, Yonke improved his season earnings to $34,773 dollars to charge into the sixth spot of the Order of Merit. As this week’s champion, the Kansas State University graduate also claimed the lead of the Bupa Challenge, a four-event long competition that has two Tour events left to play in the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

    Trailing by two at the start of the day, Yonke made his move early. A hot string of six consecutive birdies between holes 4 and 9 for a front-nine 29 that took him to the top for good. He kept a steady pace on the back nine, carding just one bogey on 16 and a birdie on 17 to defend his lead.

    Curtis Yonke interview after winning the 2017 Quito Open
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      Curtis Yonke interview after winning the 2017 Quito Open

    José Toledo of Guatemala City, Guatemala, carded a 68 to finish at 12-under and secured runner-up honors. Coming off a victory four weeks ago in Costa Rica, the 31-year old has now moved into the second spot of the Order of Merit. Although Nelson Ledesma of Argentina collected his fourth consecutive top-10 with a share of the eighth spot, his lead as Tour No.1 has suddenly reduced to just $88 dollars over Toledo.

    Joining Yonke in a tie for third at the start of the day, Chip Lynn of Lillington, North Carolina, posted a 2-under 69 to finish solo third at 10-under. This was his best finish in 12 career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Michael McGowan of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and Frederick Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas, shot 68 to tie for fourth at 8-under.

    Outright leader for the first 54-holes, Ricardo Celia of Colombia surrendered the lead with a bogey-bogey-bogey start that took him out of contention. The 25-year old ended up posting a 3-over 74 to finish in a two-way tie at 7-under, missing on the chance of becoming the first wire-to-wire champion in PGA TOUR Latinoamérica history.

    The Tour is now headed to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, where the Puerto Plata DR Open will start on Thursday at Playa Dorada Golf Course. This will be the third of four Bupa Challenge events, a competition in which Bupa Global, a leading provider of international health insurance worldwide, will reward the top-performing player with a cash prize of $10,000 dollars.

    WINNER NOTES: CURTIS YONKE

    He was born on June 27, 1991 in Overland Park, Kansas.

    Collected this win at the age of 25 years, 11 months, 8 days.

    Graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Entrepreneurship (2013).

    Had one college win at the 2010 Mizzou Intercollegiate.

    Turned pro in 2013 and joined PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2017 with a T20 finish at the Q-School played in Mexico in January.

    The Quito Open title, his first in four starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, moved him into the sixth spot in the Order of Merit. He had entered the win ranked 76th.

    As winner of this event he now holds the lead of the Bupa Challenge standings with $31,500 in earnings.

    He is the grandson of Jim Colbert, an 8-time PGA TOUR champion who went on to win 20 events on the PGA TOUR Champions.