Chile's Alvarado wins Brasil Clasic by 1 shot
SAO PAULO (AP)
Chilean golfer Benjamin Alvarado won the Brasil Classic on Sunday, the first top tournament in the country as it prepares for the return of golf to the Olympics in Rio in 2016.
Alvarado birdied the 17th hole to shoot a 2-under 69 and finished the Web.com Tour event with a 19-under total of 265. He was one shot ahead of South African Dawie van der Walt, who shot 66 in the final round at the Sao Paulo Golf Club. American Kevin Kim finished another shot back after closing with a 68.
It was Brazil's top event since the European Tour last staged a tournament in the country, in 2001. Organizers hope it will help pave the way for the arrival of the U.S. PGA Tour in Brazil next year or in 2015.
''I'm just speechless,'' Alvarado said. ''I don't have the words to explain how I feel.''
Alvarado, the first player from Chile to win in the Tour's history, found out just last week that he got received a sponsor exemption into the tournament. Now the former Arizona State standout not only has Tour status through 2014, he also took a big step toward the PGA Tour next year.
''I was just hoping to get into the top-25 this week so I could go to the next tournament,'' Alvarado said. ''In the game of golf, you never what's going to happen.''
His first-place check for $121,500 moved him to No. 2 on the money list through the first five events.
Alvarado began the day up by three and without a bogey for his last 45 holes.
''I was a little bit conservative, yes,'' he said. ''I had so much on my plate. It's different when you're trying to catch a player than when you have the lead. I started feeling nervous on the last four holes. Dawie was playing very good.
''He didn't miss any shots all day and that was tough for me.''
It set the stage for a dramatic finish at the downhill 398-yard, 18th hole. All three players attacked the pin with short irons and though Alvarado was only 12 feet away, he was still the first to putt. A birdie would end things.
''I was shaking so bad over that putt,'' he said.
Alvarado missed, which opened the door for the 30-year old van der Walt, who faced an 8-footer to tie, but fell just short.
''I was expecting him to make that,'' Alvarado said.