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  • BUPA CHALLENGE

    Rozo comes from behind on last day to capture JHSF Brazil Open title

  • Rozo won a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica trophy for the third time in his career but first since 2014. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Rozo won a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica trophy for the third time in his career but first since 2014. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
  • In This Article
  • PORTO FELIZ, Brazil—The Colombians are on a hot streak. A week after Nicolás Echavarría won the São Paulo Golf Club Championship, Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo came from behind to win the JHSF Brazil Open. In the process, Rozo supplanted American Tyson Alexander atop the Order of Merit standings with six tournaments left on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule.

    Rozo used an eight-birdie, no-bogey performance on the final day at Fazenda Boa Vista to overcome a seven-shot deficit and defeat a hard-charging Harrison Endycott and American Chase Hanna by a stroke. In the process, Rozo won a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica trophy for the third time in his career but first since 2014. The win was also a fitting tribute to Rozo’s brother, Mateo, who died in 2001, Rozo dedicating the victory to him only four days after commemorating his birthday.

    Rozo began his final round quickly, posting five birdies on the front nine, making the turn in 30. A birdie at No. 10 moved him to 6-under for the day and 18-under overall. But he still trailed Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha, the 36- and 54-hole leader, by two shots.

    Rocha, who was looking to win his second JHSF Brazil Open title, stumbled down the stretch, playing the final five holes in 5-over, opening the door for those chasing him. Rocha bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16, but it was No. 17 that ended his chances when he made a triple bogey-7 on the par 4. With Rocha’s hopes fading, it was Rozo who took the biggest advantage, making birdies and No. 16 and 17 and then holding on.

    Did you know it’s been four years, six months—or 1,645 days—since Marcelo Rozo’s last PGA TOUR Latinoamérica win, at the 2014 TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open?

    Key Information

    Ben Polland secured the second Bupa Challenge title, amassing the most money in the five Bupa Challenge tournaments—in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, finishing with the two tournaments in Brazil. Poland earned $43,109 in those five events, and he outdistanced Nicolás Echavarría ($41,345) and Marcelo Rozo ($40,334) to capture the title and the U.S. $10,000 first prize.

    Marcelo Rozo is the eighth Colombian player to win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Those players have combined to win 10 titles. Rozo accounts for three of those wins—at the 2013 VISA Open de Argentina, the 2014 TransAmerica Power Products CRV Open and the 2018 JHSF Brazil Open. The other Colombian winners are Manuel Villegas (2013 TransAmerica Power Products CRV Open), David Vanegas (2014 Arturo Calle Colombian Open), Oscar Alvarez (2014 Mexican Open), Diego Velásquez (2015 Colombia Open), Ricardo Celia (2015 Ecuador Open), Andrés Echavarría (2016 Colombia Classic) and Nicolás Echavarría (2018 São Paulo Golf Club Championship).

    Australian Harrison Endycott had a strong finish to the JHSF Brazil Open, shooting four rounds in the 60s, including a pair of 65s in the second and final rounds, to finish second, his best finish in seven PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts. Endycott’s previous-best finish was a tie for fifth at the Bupa match Play in June, winning three matches before losing in the quarterfinals. Endycott moved from 38th to 17th on the Order of Merit.

    Drew Nesbitt, who recorded the first 59 in PGA TOUR Latinoamérica history during the second round, was able to record one additional under-par round when he shot a 1-under 70 Sunday. Nesbitt finished at 3-under overall and tied for 49th.

    Mexico’s Gonzalo Rubio was playing only his fifth event of the season and his sixth career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament. His week at the JHSF Brazil Open was easily his best performance. His four under-par rounds (68-70-66-64) led to a tie for sixth, the first top-10 of his career. His previous-best stroke-play showing was a tie for 48th at the Guatemala Stella Artois Open. He did qualify for the Bupa Match Play but lost in the first round. Rubio, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, began his college career at the University of North Texas before transferring to the University of Arkansas for his final two collegiate years. He was a Razorbacks teammate of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Nicolás Echavarría.

    Quotable

    “I am very happy for this triumph, I have been looking for it for some time. I felt that I could win because I have been playing well. I had an awesome summer, winning in Colombia and playing some tournaments on the Web.com Tour.” –Marcelo Rozo

    “I was calm all round. I’ve been playing well with the putter for two weeks. Today on the first hole, I missed one, but it was a key moment because I still had a good feeling. I gave myself opportunities all day, and at 18 I wanted to make that putt to ensure my win. It didn’t go in, but as it turned out I did not need it.” –Marcelo Rozo

    “The first time I saw the scoreboard was on the No. 9, and I saw I was three strokes behind. I knew that if Alex made three or four fewer on the back nine, I could win.” –Marcelo Rozo on his chances at winning with nine holes to play

    “This is a special Tour for me. From here I jumped to the Web.com Tour, and if I do that again I think I’ll be much more prepared the second time. Each year the level is higher on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, and if I won it is because I have what it takes to play with the best.” –Marcelo Rozo

    “I want the full card at the end of the season.” –Marcelo Rozo, on finishing No. 1 on the Order of Merit and what it means for playing privileges on the 2019 Web.com Tour

    “I feel fortunate. I obviously didn’t do my job this week in making the cut. The destiny of winning the Bupa Challenge was in my hands and I didn’t do my part and I was fortunate enough to scrape by and have just a few more dollars than a couple of great players, so I feel very fortunate.” –Ben Polland, on winning the Bupa Challenge

    “It’s a great thing to have the Bupa Challenge in addition to what we are already doing. It’s another incentive, but it also requires you to play great, it’s like a mini season, it’s five tournaments and whoever plays the best in those five tournaments gets a nice price, a beautiful trophy. I think it’s great and Bupa Global does a great job supporting the Tour, supporting the players. Additional money in our purses is a big deal, it means a lot for us” –Ben Polland

    Tournament Fast Fact

    Besides Marcelo Rozo taking the title at the JHSF Brazil Open, two other Colombians also recorded top-10 finishes this week. The others were Santiago Gómez (tied for sixth) and Ricardo Celia (tied for ninth).

    Final-Round Weather Report

    Sunny and warm. High of 85. Wind S at 4-6 mph.