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Late birdie lifts Hillier to JHSF Brazil Open victory

7 Min Read


Late birdie lifts Hillier to JHSF Brazil Open victory

    Written by PGA TOUR Staff Latinoamérica @PGATOUR_LA

    PORTO FELIZ, Brazil—After hitting his tee shot into the fairway on the 18th hole at Fazenda Boa Vista on Sunday, Charlie Hillier’s brother, Harry, who had earlier finished his round and was walking with his brother, said, “You birdie and you win.” That’s what Charlie Hillier did, creeping in a six-foot birdie putt that caught the hole’s left edge and fell in to win that gave him the JHSF Brazil Open title. That putt moved Hillier to 19-under, one shot free of Davis Shore, who a group earlier had posted the 18-under clubhouse lead.

    “Luckily I hit a good tee shot and had a really good look and the putt dropped,” said Hillier, a New Zealand native and former University of Kansas golfer. The victory moved him to No. 2 in the Totalplay Cup standings, 12 points behind Cristóbal del Solar, who is currently playing on the Korn Ferry Tour.

    Hillier definitely didn’t have his best stuff Sunday, as he struggled to an even-par 71—with two birdies and two bogeys. Yet what he did have was enough to hold off a host of challengers.

    “It’s a lot of relief. I didn’t play my best today but fought really hard. I’m just super excited to celebrate with friends and family,” Charlie Hillier said, knowing Harry, who tied for 31st this week, would be part of the fun.

    “If you told me I was going to shoot 3-under on the weekend, I wouldn’t have believed you just as I wouldn’t have believed I would have a six-shot lead after two rounds,” Charlie Hillier continued. It was his 62-64, 16-under score that ultimately helped him secure his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title in his 14th start in this his second season.

    A week after contending at the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years, Shore was back in contention again, coming even closer at Fazenda Boa Vista before again walking away disappointed.

    “It’s definitely been a good two-week stretch for me. I’m pleased with it, but, obviously, I would love to win one of these,” Shore said following his close call.

    He rolled in a birdie putt on the 17th to get to 18-under, but on his third-shot approach on the par-5 18th, Shore said he was in between clubs and didn’t hit his best shot. His 32-foot birdie attempt missed.

    “I had a feeling I was going to need to get to 19- or 20-under. Honestly, to have a shot (at winning) on the back nine I was a little surprised because starting the day I was so far back,” Shore added of his six-shot deficit when the day began.

    PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will observe a four-week break in its schedule, resuming play at another national open, the Diners Club Peru Open in Lima from April 27-30.

    Did you know veteran Charlie Hillier’s hometown of Te Puke, New Zealand has a population of 8,688 at the last census? Hillier left New Zealand to pursue his education in the U.S., attending the University of Kansas, the school where his younger brother, Harry, eventually attended—and played golf—as well.

    Key Information

    CharlieHillier is the first wire-to-wire winner this season. The last time one player led after each round from start to finish was a season ago when Argentina’s AlanWagner opened a three-shot lead in the opening round of the Scotia Wealth Management Chile Open and held on the rest of the way.

    Turning 32 on Sunday, Brazil’s RaphaelBecker had a hole-in-one on No. 2. He used a 6-iron on the 181-yard hole for the ace. Becker went on to tie for 14th. Becker had missed the cut in his last two JHSF Brazil Open starts, and he did not play in 2020. He tied for ninth in 2018.

    Canada’s StuartMacdonald had the round of the day, the round of the week and the round of the year with his 10-under 61 Sunday. He jumped from a tie for 39th when the day began into a tie for sixth with SandyScott, at 14-under. Macdonald had 10 birdies and no bogeys, his birdies coming at Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18. His finished his round on the Fazenda Boa Vista’s front nine, finishing the tournament by making putts of 35, 25 and 10 feet, respectively for his final three birdies. “It was just one of those days where things are going for you. I got a bunch of putts to fall early. I tried to keep the momentum going. I thought the front nine—my back side—was playing a little tougher. I made some good pars on that backside,” he said.

    StuartMacdonald played in this tournament by virtue of his conditional Korn Ferry Tour status, and his performance this week will allow him to play more on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, if he chooses, as the reshuffle of player status occurs after this tournament.

    Two players shot four scores in the 60s this week. ChrisCrawford (66-66-69-67) and FelipeNavarro (68-69-69-69). Crawford tied for third, picking up his third top-10 of the season. Navarro tied for 14th, his best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica performance since he tied for 15th at the 2019 Diners Club Peru Open.

    With his tie for eighth this week, ConnerGodsey moved to sixth in the Totalplay Cup standings. He was runner up in Chile in December and then tied for fifth in the first event of the calendar year, the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational. After missing the cut last week at the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years, Godsey was back to his top-10 ways this week.

    Jared Chinn had a big jump up the leaderboard Sunday, tying for 14th—a 50-position move upward. He shot a 7-under 64 after opening 70-70-71. This was only the second PGA TOUR Latinoamérica start of his career and his first made cut.

    This is Joey Savoie’s first season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, and the Canadian posted his first top-10 with his tied for third. Savoie has also made 15 PGA TOUR Canada starts and six Forme Tour appearances. He was runner-up outside Chicago on the Forme Tour, and last year he finished fourth at the Royal Beach Victoria Open—his two best finishes on those circuits.

    There were 21 Brazilians competing this week in their national open, with four making the cut. The top finishers—FelipeNavarro, RodrigoLee and RafaelBecker—all shot 9-under 275s. AxellGustavoBalestre finished at 1-over.


    “It was a lot of the emotion coming out and trying to stay patient all day. To finally see one go in on the last hole was awesome.” –Charlie Hillier on his double fist pump on after his 72nd-hole birdie putt dropped

    “Even though it doesn’t look like I’m having fun on my face, inside I’m enjoying what’s going on. I love to compete.” –Charlie Hillier

    “I found that out this week.” –Charlie Hillier when hearing that winning wire to wire is difficult

    “I had a really solid round today I played well. I would have liked to have had a couple more putts drop on that back nine, but overall I was really happy with my effort.” –Davis Shore

    “I’m going to be extra motivated these next couple of weeks practicing, and I’m excited about playing in Peru and Ecuador coming up.” –Davis Shore

    “To close out with three birdies was awesome and made it really special.” –Stuart Macdonald on his 10-under 61

    “I wasn’t sure what I was at. There were too many birdies to count. I tried to keep on giving myself looks.” –Stuart Macdonald

    “I thought if there was going to be a day to shoot a low one, today would be the day because it was windy, and I knew a good round would move me up a bunch of spots. It played a little tricky today. The birdies were out there, and I just had to make some putts. I did that.” –Stuart Macdonald

    Final-Round Weather: Mostly sunny and warm. High of 82. Wind SSE at 7-9 mph.

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