Fairway hole-out gives Blanchet thrilling De Vicenzo title
6 Min Read
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
BERAZATEGUI, Argentina—All Leandro Marelli could do is turn around and clap his hands. Marelli, who had been chasing Chandler Blanchet during the entire final round of the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years, watched as Blanchet hit his second-shot approach from 124 yards into the hole for an eagle-2 on his final swing of the day. That eagle at historic Ranelagh Golf Club lifted Blanchet to a thrilling, three-shot win over Marelli.
“Chandler made one of the best golf shots I’ve ever seen in my life. I had no choice but to congratulate him,” Marelli said.
With one hole to play, Blanchet was clinging to a one-stroke advantage, and he watched Marelli smoke his drive, the ball landing 40 yards short of the par-4 green. Blanchet’s ball settled a full 50 yards behind Marelli’s. Knowing Marelli faced a relatively short chip, and with the pressure on, Blanchet nailed his 50-degree-wedge approach shot, saw it hit about two feet behind the cup and slowly roll in.
“I hit a good tee shot, and I was right where I wanted to be. I knew I was going to have somewhere around 120 yards,” Blanchet said of his second-to-last shot of the tournament. “It was a perfect shot. I was in a divot a little bit. It came out a little lower than expected but it obviously worked out well.”
That would be an understatement.
After raising his arms in triumph, Blanchet immediately gave his caddie, Antonio Brazil—“Big Tony”—a high-five and then a hug. It was Brazil who was also on the bag for Blanchet’s first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title, at the 2019 Sao Paulo Golf Club Championship. In that win, like this one, Blanchet had four rounds in the 60s. This week, Blanchet opened with a 6-under 65, followed that with back-to-back 68s then closed with Sunday’s 66 that seemed somewhat unlikely through nine holes.
Blanchet, with 21 previous PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts under his belt, bogeyed his second hole of the day, as well as No. 9, and he made the turn at 2-over. The fifth-year pro wasn’t exactly concerned.
“I knew on the back nine there are some holes you can take advantage of, three par-5s and there are a couple of short par-4s,” said Blanchet. “I honestly felt more comfortable off the tee on the back nine. I knew I wanted to be a few more under (-par), but I knew I had a good opportunity ahead.”
He made four consecutive birdies, starting at No. 10, then on the par-5 14th, he hit his tee shot into the trees but found a “bit of a gap” where he hit a 20-yard draw. The ball settled on the green 30 feet from the hole. “It was a great shot, then I made a nice 30-footer.” The eagle moved him to 16-under, and he survived a 17th-hole bogey that preceded his 18th-hole heroics.
“The goal coming down here is to get back to the Korn Ferry Tour. I think this Tour is the best for that reason. I think it really prepares you. I felt good after I came off this Tour in 2019 and went to the Korn Ferry Tour, and hopefully I’ll feel even better this next time,” Blanchet added.
In defeat, Marelli was philosophical of his second career runner-up showing (2016 Mazatlan Open). “This helps me have more confidence in my game. It’s a result that allows me to move up in the rankings and makes it clear to me that I can make it into the top five by the end of the season.”
Did you know in both 2020 and 2022, Chandler Blanchet was a Korn Ferry Tour member? In those two seasons, he made 53 starts and posted two top-10s. Both of his top finishes came in 2020, a tie for fourth at the LECOM Suncoast Classic in Florida and a tie for fifth at the Wichita Open in Kansas.
Totalplay Cup Standings
(Through Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years)
|1||Cristóbal Del Solar||711|
2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player Benefits
|2022-23 Final Totalplay Cup Position||Reward|
|No. 1||Will receive exempt status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour|
|Nos. 2-5||Will receive conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry|
|Nos. 1-5||Exempt into Final Stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
|Nos. 6-25||Exempt into the second stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
Final Zurich Argentina Swing Standings
|4||Cristobal Del Solar||521|
Chandler Blanchet has primarily played on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, but he also has 10 career starts on PGA TOUR Canada, all coming in 2018. He has a unique symmetry from his one season in Canada. He missed seven cuts, and of his three weekend visits, all resulted in ties for 28th, all of them coming in succession—at the Windsor Championship, the Staal Foundation Open and the Osprey Valley Open.
Three other players besides champion ChandlerBlanchet had four sub-70 rounds this week: AndresRomero (third), MaxSekulic (tied for fourth) and RaulPereda (seventh). Romero is a part-time player, but he has played in four of the first five events this season and is eligible to play in Brazil next week by virtue of his top-20 performance. Sekulic built on his tie for 18th finish last week at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational with the first top-10 of his career. He moved to No. 22 in the Totalplay Cup standings. Pereda turned in the ninth top-10 performance of his career in his 37th career start. He improved to No. 12 in the Totalplay Cup.
This was Charlie Hillier’s 13th career start, and his tie for fourth is easily his top performance, bettering his tie-for-12th showing last year at the Fortox Colombia Classic. Hiller recorded four under-par rounds this week, shooting a final-round, 1-under 70 to go with his 66-67-69 start.
Chandler Blanchet is 28 years, 2 months, 1 day old, the third player in his 20s to win this year. The youngest winner is JakeMcCrory (27 years, 21 days), while the oldest is MattRyan (36 years, 2 months, 29 days).
This is the fifth time in five tournaments that a 54-hole leader has gone on to win the tournament. ChandlerBlanchet entered the final round this week tied with CésarCostilla and won. ZackFischer (Visa Argentina Open), Cristóbal del Solar (Neuquén Argentina Classic) and MattRyan (Scotia Wealth Management Chile Open) all held solo, 54-hole leads. A week ago, JakeMcCrory, like Blanchet, broke free from a 54-hole tie, with JesusMontenegro, to win.
Thirty-nine Argentines played this week, with 14 making the cut. The top finisher was Leandro Marelli. Here are those who played all 72 holes and how they fared.
|2||Leandro Marelli||270 (-14)|
|3||Andrés Romero||271 (-13)|
|8||Rafael Echenique||274 (-10)|
|T9||César Costilla||275 (-9)|
|T22||Clodomiro Carranza||279 (-5)|
|T22||Tommy Cocha||279 (-5)|
|T27||Ignacio Marino||280 (-4)|
|T33||Puma Domínguez||281 (-3)|
|T36||Oreste Focaccia||282 (-2)|
|T41||Andrés Gallegos||283 (-1)|
|T48||Felix Córdoba||284 (even)|
|T51||Jaime López Rivarola||286 (+2)|
|T51||Maxi Godoy||286 (+2)|
|T51||Paulo Pinto||286 (+2)|
“It was incredible. That’s what we want We want to have bigger crowds. I’m moving my way up to that. The fans were awesome. I felt like they cheered just as much for me as they did for the Argentines. We had a great time out there.” –Chandler Blanchet on playing with Argentina’s César Costilla and Leandro Marelli
“My last win was four years ago. It’s been a while. I’ve been grinding, and I feel like I’ve been getting better. It’s nice to see it pay off this week.” –Chandler Blanchet
“I’m happy to have played well on Roberto De Vicenzo's golf course. I would have liked to win, but I have to admit that Chandler deserved it more than I did.” –Leandro Marelli
Final-Round Weather: Sunny and mild, with a high of 72.Wind SSE at 3-5.