Daniel Stapff made the most of his local knowledge when he won the third Faldo Series South America Championship over his home course at the Alphaville Graciosa Golf Club at Curitiba in Brazil.
Stapff produced rounds of 71, 70 and 70 to tie Rafael Becker on five under par 211 and then defeated his compatriot with a par on the second hole of the subsequent sudden-death play-off. However, the championship, which was supported by The R&A, the European Tour and Lough Erne Resort, turned into a personal nightmare for the luckless Argentinean,
Julian Clarke, who came to the 54th hole with a three shot lead only to see his hopes of victory dashed when he ran up a quadruple bogey nine to miss out on the play-off by a single shot.
The victory gave Stapff a place in the Faldo Series Grand Final, to be played at The Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, on September 21-23, where he will be joined by Chile’s Gustavo Silva who put together rounds of 67, 70 and 77 to claim an extra time victory in the Boys’ Under-18 category, while Brazil’s Henrique Souza Pombo posted rounds of 74, 72 and 71 to claim a four stroke winning margin in the Boys’ Under-16 category.
Both the Girls’ Under-21 age group winner, Ana Paula Costa from Brazil, and the Girls’ Under-16 champion, Paloma Vaccaro from Paraguay, also earned places at the Lough Erne Resort.
The third annual Faldo Series South America Championship seemed all but over when Clarke boarded the final tee with a three shot advantage on eight under par. However, the Argentinean proceeded to hit his second shot into a greenside bunker, took four shots to get out and then needed another three to get down to leave the door open for Stapff and Becker.
The Brazilian duo halved the opening hole of the sudden-death play-off in par before Stapff won both the overall title and the Boys’ Under-21 prize when his opponent three-putted for a bogey five on the second extra hole.
“I still can’t really believe it,” said the home favourite, Stapff. “I have never won a tournament here at Alphaville Graciosa but what a way to change that.
“It’s a dream come true to win a place in the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final,” he added.