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  • Sam Stevens consistency pays off with one-shot win in Colombia

  • With a runner-up finish and a victory in consecutive weeks, the 24-year-old Oklahoma State University alum now holds the second spot on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List. (Media/PGA TOUR)
    With a runner-up finish and a victory in consecutive weeks, the 24-year-old Oklahoma State University alum now holds the second spot on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List. (Media/PGA TOUR)
  • In This Article
  • BUCARAMANGA, Colombia—Coming off a runner-up finish last Sunday, Sam Stevens kept a strong pace this week to come out on top and claim his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career victory, at the Holcim Colombia Classic presented by Volvo. In a three-way tie for the lead at the start of this final day, Stevens shot 69 for the third consecutive day to finish at 11-under 273. He won by one over fellow American Paul Imondi, who carded a 67 to charge into solo second.

    Rowin Caron also shot 67 and joined Patrick Newcomb in a tie for fifth. Newcomb had entered the day tied for the lead but faltered to a 1-over 72 to finish three strokes behind the winner.

    Garrett May, one of two players to fire a final-row-low 65, finished at 7-under to make it into a three-way tie for fifth along with Ryann Ree and Juan Carlos Benítez.

    David Vanegas, who finished as the low Colombian in a seven-way tie for eighth, recorded the other 65 of the final day. Mexico’s Raúl Pereda, who dropped from the tie for first with a final round, 3-over 74, was among those joining Vanegas at 6-under for the week.

    “I knew, coming into this week that I was playing well, and when I got here I was really impressed with the course, really liked the layout,” said Stevens, the only player to have four rounds in the 60s this week at Club Campestre de Bucaramanga, a tricky par-71 that played only 6,394 yards. “I was able to keep playing well. I never got too far ahead of myself, and I was able to capitalize on the good shots and minimize the bad shots.” 

    Stevens shot 1-under on the front nine, making birdies on Nos. 1 and 8 with his only bogey of the day coming on five. A birdie on 10 got him to 11-under, where he would remain for the rest of the day by making eight pars coming in.

    Down the stretch, Stevens through his closest rival was playing partner Patrick Newcomb, who was trailing by three, at 8-under. He didn’t know that two groups ahead of them, Paul Imondi had made it to 10-under with an eagle on 15.

    “I honestly though that Patrick was in second place. I thought I had a three-shot lead, and then I got to the 16th tee and saw that I had a one-shot lead. I thought that I probably needed a birdie coming in, but thankfully pars got the job done,” said Stevens, who matched Imondi’s pars on the final three holes.

    This win came on the heels of a runner-up finish last week, an impressive two-week stretch that took him from 16th to second on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List. “I still have work to do to catch Brandon (Matthews), but I’ll try not to worry too much about that. I will try to focus on getting better, play as hard as I can each week, and see where that puts me,” added the man of the hour.

    Stevens and the rest of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica players head to Quito, Ecuador, where the Banco del Pacífico Open is scheduled to start Thursday at Quito Tenis y Golf Club.

    Did you know Sam Stevens has yet to shoot a round over par this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season? He has played 20 rounds this season, with 17 of those scores in the 60s. His “worst” showing is an even-par 71 in the final round of the Shell Open last December. 

    Key Information

    Samuel Stevens, who will turn 25 on July 4, won this title at age 24 years, 11 months, 16 days.

    Sunday’s victory was Sam Stevens’ first in 20 career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts. His performance this season has been superb, having finished inside the top 12 in all five of his starts, with a runner-up and a win the past two weeks. The following are his tournament finishes and scores this season:

    Position

    Tournament

    R1

    R2

    R3

    R4

    Total

    T11

    Estrella del Mar Open

    65

    66

    69

    68

    268 (-20)

    T12

    Shell Open

    67

    69

    70

    71

    277 (-7)

    T9

    Mexico Open

    69

    68

    70

    68

    275 (-13)

    2nd

    The Club at Weston Hills Open

    68

    65

    68

    66

    267 (-21)

    Won

    Holcim Colombia Classic

    66

    69

    69

    69

    273 (-11)

    With 17 of his 20 rounds this season in the 60s, Sam Stevens now owns the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica lowest scoring average (68.00).

    Sam Stevens collected 500 points as a tournament winner to increase his season’s point total to 990 and rise to No. 2 on the Points List. He trails No. 1 Brandon Matthews by only 80 points, having earned 800 points over the past two tournaments. 

    Points List Standings

    Through the Holcim Colombia Classic presented by Volvo

    Pos.

    Last

    Week

    Player

    Points

    1

    1

    Brandon Matthews (U.S.)

    1,070

    2

    5

    Sam Stevens (U.S.)

    990

    3

    2

    Álvaro Ortiz (Mexico)

    838

    4

    3

    MJ Maguire (U.S.)

    751

    5

    4

    Alex Rocha (Brazil)

    614

    6

    6

    Conner Godsey (U.S.)

    503

    7

    8

    Leandro Marelli (Argentina)

    439

    8

    7

    Drew Nesbitt (Canada)

    400

    9

    16

    Rowin Caron (Netherlands)

    382

    10

    9

    Jacob Bergeron (U.S.)

    377

    The runner-up finish was a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica career-best for Paul Imondi, who was making his 19th Tour start this week. Imondi’s previous best in Latin America was a tie for third at the 2012 Dominican Republic Open. The California native has also played on the Mackenzie Tour, making 10 starts in 2017, and the PGA TOUR Series-China, where he made 29 starts between 2015 and 2018. He made it to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019, finishing the season ranked 121st in the Points Standings.

    Paul Imondi was among those touched by the devastating news of the passing of Jose Edgar Preciado, a Colombian caddie who was working at this week’s tournament. Preciado suffered a fatal heart attack at the onsite hotel at Club Campestre de Bucaramanga on Thursday afternoon. “Something that tragic is very sad for a family. To lose somebody that suddenly is very difficult, so I just wanted to lend a hand in any way I could, and I just thought what’s a better motivation than to make birdies to help somebody out?” said Imondi, who pledged $25 for every birdie or eagle he made during the weekend. He went on to make 12 birdies and one eagle.

    Firing a final-round 65, David Vanegas took advantage of a sponsors’ exemption to finish the week as the leading Colombian player (tied for eighth) at 6-under for the week. Vanegas won the 2014 Colombian Open at Ruitoque Golf Country Club when PGA TOUR Latinoamérica first visited Bucaramanga. He had an interesting Sunday, with his scorecard featuring two eagles, on Nos. 3 and 15, five birdies (Nos. 2, 4, 8, 9, 11) and three bogeys.

    “It was an interesting day. I went out with some good energy today, and my goal was to have a good round. This is a course where a low round allows you to gain a lot of positions. I had not competed at this level in a while, it’s been about 14-15 months since I played the Korn Ferry Tour event in Bogota, so some nerves at the end cost me a bit,” said the 34-year-old from Medellin, who got to 7-under after his eagle on 15 before finishing par-par-bogey.

    The following are the scores and final positions for the six Colombians who made it into the weekend:

    Position, Score

    Player

    T8, 74-70-69-65 (-6)

    David Vanegas

    T25, 71-72-69-70 (-2)

    Nicolás Quintero (a)

    T25, 72-72-68-70 (-2)

    Ricardo Celia

    35, 70-74-73-67 (par)

    Camilo Aguado

    T43, 70-69-76-71 (+2)

    Oscar Patiño

    T58, 72-72-76-73 (+9)

    Andrés Echavarría

    The first two albatrosses of the 2020-21 season were recorded this week by Argentina’s Leandro Marelli (first round) and Guatemala’s José Toledo (second round) at the 525-yard par-5 No. 8. Both Marelli and Toledo are the first two players to record two albatrosses during their PGA TOUR Latinoamérica careers. 

    Marelli made his first in 2016, during the second round of the Lexus Panama Classic at Buenaventura Golf Club in Rio Hato, Panama. Toledo had his first in 2019, during the third round of the Diners Club Peru Open at Los Inkas Golf Club in Lima, Peru.

    This was also the third time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica has had two albatrosses during the same tournament. In March 2014, there were two albatrosses at the Guatemala Stella Artois Open at La Reunión Resort, a 2 by Englishman Charlie Ford at the par-5 15th and a 1 at by Argentina’s Cesar Monasterio at the par-4 10th. Four weeks later, playing the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational at Club de Golf del Uruguay on April 25, there were two albatrosses on the same day. The first came from Colombia’s Juan Pablo Luna, at the par-5 14th, and the second by Argentine amateur Franco Martinangeli, who recorded a 1 at the par-4 first.

    Quotable

    “Today was pretty good, again. It was pretty solid. There were a few loose shots off the tee to start the round, but I was able to commit a little better throughout the round; just make better swings.” –Sam Stevens

    “The last few holes I felt like I was making pretty good swings. I didn’t putt well, but the greens are tricky out here and it has been like that all week. I was just excited to get it in the house.”—Sam Stevens

    “I made a great putt on 10 to get the back nine started, and it kind of got me going. I thought that I was going to maybe make a few more birdies. The whole back nine was pretty steady, pretty stress-free.”—Sam Stevens

    “I felt that I hit it a little better from tee to green the past three days. My ball-striking was not as good, but I putted a little better. Basically, I made some 15-footers and 20-footers on the holes you need to birdie. It felt like I hit it better the previous days, but I scored the best today, so that’s the game of golf.”—Paul Imondi

    “Actually, the eagle was very weird. I hit a hybrid, which I have been doing every day off that tee, but I pushed it right and it hit the tree and basically dropped straight down. I had basically 313 yards to the pin, and I hit a 3-wood as hard as I could and somehow got it on the front edge to about 25 feet and made the putt. I had been hitting 7- and 6-iron into that green the first three days, and today I hit a tree and a great 3-wood.”—Paul Imondi describing the eagle he made at the 507-yard par-5 No. 15

    Final-Round Weather 

    Mostly cloudy, with a high of 81. Humidity at 77 percent. Wind WNW at 7 mph.