BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – NOVEMBER 26, 2013. All set to begin on Thursday, the Personal Classic presented by BlackBerry is the next to last event on the 2013 season of the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. The tournament will be played at La Reserva Cardales, which is located 40 miles North of downtown Buenos Aires. The season will finish next week with the 108th VISA Open de Argentina presented by Peugeot at Nordelta.
- November 23-29, 2013
- Venue: La Reserva Cardales
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- This is the 13th event on the Tour’s 14-tournament schedule
- Field: 132 Players
- Hashtag: #PersonalClassic
It’s Rodríguez vs. Blaum battling for No. 1. In addition to claiming the Roberto De Vicenzo Award, finishing No. 1 in the Order of Merit of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica means earning full exempt status on the Web.com Tour next year. Although current No. 1 José de Jesús Rodríguez had opened a $30,000 following his win at the Arturo Calle Colombian Classic at the beginning of the month, No. 2 Ryan Blaum came close to winning the last two events and has shortened the gap to only $4,416 with two tournaments left to play. The battle for top honors and that full card on the Web.com Tour will be interesting to watch, with Blaum currently carrying the momentum. There are only four other players on the field who have mathematical chances of finishing No. 1: Jorge Fernández-Valdés (ranked No. 4), Manuel Villegas (No. 5), Julián Etulain (No. 6) and Sebastián Saavedra (No. 8).
Players within the top 70 still have a shot. Math wise, players currently ranked within the top 70 of the Order of Merit can still finish among Los Cinco (the top 5) who will earn status on the Web.com Tour next year. In addition to that, any player who collects a win and a solo third or better can still make it into the top 10 that grants exempt status into the Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament to be played next month in La Quinta, California.
Field Breakdown. There are 132 players from 19 countries on this week’s field. The following are the countries and number of players by country: Argentina (61), USA (23), Colombia (8), Brazil (6), Mexico (6), Chile (4), Venezuela (3), Uruguay (3), Australia (2), Bolivia (2), Canada (2), Dominican Republic (2), Paraguay (2), Peru (2), Spain (2), Ecuador (1), Puerto Rico (1), Wales (1) and Zimbabwe (1).
Defending Champion Ariel Cañete. After graduating from PGA TOUR Latinoamérica as the No. 1 in the 2012 Order of Merit, Argentina’s Ariel Cañete will be making his first Tour start this season as the Personal Classic’s defending champion. This will be Cañete first start since the Web.com Tour Championship last September. Cañete saved his Web.com Tour card by finishing the regular season ranked 69th on the Money List. He made 10 cuts in 23 starts and his best finish was T3 at the Mylan Classic near Pittsburgh in early August.
Tour Champions. There are 14 NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champions ready to compete in Argentina this week. In addition to Ariel Cañete, who won twice last year, the other Tour winners on the field are: Ryan Blaum*, Clodomiro Carranza, Tommy Cocha, Julián Etulain, Jorge Fernández-Valdés, Sebastián Fernández, Matías O’Curry, José de Jesús Rodríguez*, Sebastián Salem, Ryan Sullivan, Manuel Villegas, Sebastián Vázquez and Alan Wagner. *Two-time winners this season.
Impressive Qualifying Round. On Monday, during the 18-hole open qualifier played at the tournament’s venue T.J. Griffin fired an impressive 10-under par 62. The 26-year old from North Carolina is a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member who forgot to sign in for the tournament before entries closed. He made the trip to La Reserva Cardales running the risk of failing to qualify, but without knowing the course he went on to put a clinic. Griffin has made only two cuts in nine Tour starts this season and enters this event ranked No. 149 in the Order of Merit.
Looking to save the Tour card. Over the two events remaining this season players will be also battling to finish in the top 60 of the Order of Merit in order to keep or secure PGA TOUR Latinoamérica playing rights for the 2014 season. The 60th spot currently belongs to Derek Gillespie of Canada, a player who made it to the Final Stage of the Web.com Tour’s final stage and is not here to defend that spot.
The following is the top 60 bubble:
- 55. Sebastián Fernández, Argentina $ 8,580
- 56. Jorge Monroy, Argentina $ 8,545
- 57. Ronaldo Francisco, Brazil $ 8,045
- 58. Sebastián Maclean, Bolivia $ 7,900
- 59. Rafael Echenique, Argentina $ 7,619
- 60. Derek Gillespie, Canada $ 7,606
- 61. Sebastián Salem, Peru $ 7,563
- 62. Danny Balin, USA $ 7,544
- 63. Philippe Gasnier, Brazil $ 7,458
- 64. Gustavo Acosta, Argentina $ 7,333
- 65. Mario Clemens, Mexico $ 7,256
For more on Order of Merit positions log on to: Order of Merit
La Reserva Cardales. Located 40 miles North of downtown Buenos Aires, La Reserva Cardales is a first time venue for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. In addition to its championship course, the property features a 5-star Sofitel Hotel. “We are flattered to be part of this event and we would like to thank both the PGA TOUR and Tournament promoter German Galli for inviting us to serve as its new venue. When we opened La Reserva Cardales back in 2008 one of our goals was to prepare and get in position to have a tournament of this nature,” said José María Candioti, President of La Reserva Cardales.
- Golf Course: La Reserva Cardales
- Par: 72 (36-36) - 6,798 yards
- Designed by: Caprile & Capdepont
- Website: La Reserva Cardales