Montevideo, Uruguay (April 27, 2014) – Florida’s Ty Capps made a par on the third hole of a sudden death playoff to defeat Argentina’s Tommy Cocha and win the 2014 Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC on Sunday.
Holding the overnight lead by one, Capps seemed to be on his way to victory in regulation. However, he faltered down the stretch with bogeys on 15 and 17.
His final round of 71, his highest score this week at the sixth event of the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, made him run into a tie with Cocha at 16-under par 272.
Trailing by five at the start of the day, Cocha rallied with three birdies and an eagle on the back nine for a round 66. The young man who turned 23 on Saturday had a shot at the title on the second playoff hole, where he missed a five-footer for birdie.
“Tommy made a really good shot on the 8th hole, our second playoff hole, and to miss that putt I felt bad for him, but I knew I needed to do what I had to do and I just kind of kept plugging away. On 9 (the third playoff hole) I hit probably my best two shots to hit that green for the first time this week. I hit two phenomenal shots there,” said Capp, who followed a bogey by Cocha with a par for the win.
In six-plus seasons as a professional, Capps had had some minor success back in his country. “I’ve won some small mini-tour stuff. Ten wins in one or two-day events and one three-day win. For a four-day good test of golf, a real golf tournament, this is my first one and now I feel like I have gotten over a hurdle and I’m ready to kind of go forward,” said the 30-year old from Palm Coast, Fla. now ranked No. 7 on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit.
With his victory at the Club de Golf del Uruguay, an Alister MacKenzie designed that offered the competitors and spectators stunning views of the Rio de la Plata and the city of Montevideo, Capps earned fully exempt status on the Tour. His conditional status had limited his starts to only three over the first six events of the season.
“I think the season might actually be a little bit tougher for me, because now I’m playing for a Web.com Tour card and that’s what we are out here for. This is a phenomenal Tour. I don’t think the guys that aren’t playing out here know what they are missing. This is the real deal,” he said.
“My goal is to reach the PGA TOUR and this is a step in that direction,” Capps said.
Pennsylvania’s Robert Rohanna, 69, and Rafael Campos, 70, finished one-shot behind in a two-way tie for third. Kentucky’s Kent Bulle and Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo finished another stroke behind in a tie for fifth.
Watch: Ty Capps Interview
Watch: Final Round Highlights
Weather. Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 69F. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph were a factor throughout this final day.
Tommy Cocha. On his best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica performance since September of 2012, when he won the Tour’s inaugural event and collected runner-up honors at the next, Argentina’s Tommy Cocha made an effort to look at the bright side of his playoff loss.
“I’m happy because I played well all week. It hurts that I let it slip away on 8 (on the second playoff hole), but I hit a bad putt there and that’s the only thing I regret. On the next hole I hit it well, but I just left it short. What matters the most is that I’m contending again and there should be something to learn about this,” said Cocha, whose thirty-footer for birdie at the 72nd hole eventually got him into the playoff.
Rafa Campos. Off to another strong start, Puerto Rico’s Rafa Campos was able to tie Capps for the lead halfway through the afternoon and seemed to have a good shot at the title. His good putting touch went away on the back nine and the three-footer he missed for par on 17 cost him a shot at making the playoff for the title. “That was my worse stroke all-week. I didn’t feel comfortable over the ball there. I should have backed down,” said the 26-year old.
Robert Rohanna. A strong weekend of 65-68, with a birdie-birdie finish on Sunday was big for the 27-year-old from Pennsylvania. Today’s third place finish was his second top 3 on his last three starts on Tour. In addition, he picked up the OHL Round of the Week Award. Rohanna was one of seven players who shot 65 this week, but with the best finish among those seven he won the tiebreaker to collect a $1,000 check courtesy of OHL.
Rozo remains the Tour’s No. 1. It was another solid week for Colombia’s Marcelo Rozo, who finished in a tie for fifth to extend his lead as the best player among Los Cinco. The 24-year old from Bogota made it to Uruguay after a solo third finish in Cordoba and played a starting role throughout the week.
Today he opened with a birdie on 1 for an early tie for the lead with Capps. However, a couple of bogeys on 4 and 6 made him drop out of contention. “Things didn’t work out for me on the greens today, but I was able to put on a fight and stayed close. I’ll have another shot soon,” said the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s youngest two-time champion.
Low round of the day moves Cochran back inside Los Cinco. After a disappointing 78 on Saturday, Kentucky’s Rick Cochran III bounced back on Sunday with an impressive bogey-free 65 that got him back inside Los Cinco. By finishing in a tie for the 19th spot he claimed the Order of Merit’s fifth spot, leap frogging over Mexico’s Armando Favela who slipped down into the sixth spot. That was the only movement among Los Cinco at the conclusion of this event.
“It was the toughest day of the week, with the wind and the hole locations, but I was able to fire at some flags today and I made some putts. It was a good round for me, because every position, every dollar counts on the year-end race,” said the 25-year old who has collected three runner-up finishes so far this season.
Order of Merit’s ‘Los Cinco’ through six events:
1. Marcelo Rozo, Colombia $43,791
2. William Kropp, Oklahoma $37,140
3. David Vanegas, Colombia $35,258
4. Daniel Mazziotta, Florida $33,413
5. Rick Cochran III, Kentucky $32,869
For a full Order of Merit update see: 2014 Order of Merit
Uruguayan players. Juan Álvarez, the only amateur to make the cut this week, was the leading Uruguayan. The 20-year old carded a 73 on Sunday to finish the week in a tie for the 23rd spot. His countryman Juan Ignacio Lizarralde, a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member, carded a 76 to drop into a tie for the 46th spot.
Best rounds of the day:
65 (-7) Rick Cochran III, USA
66 (-6) Tommy Cocha, Argentina; Yoshio Yamamoto, México; Liam Logan, USA
Bogey-free rounds by day:
Round 1: (2) Emilio Domínguez 65; Ty Capps 66
Round 2: (4) Stephen Hale 66; Stephan Jaeger 67; Liam Logan 67; Yoshio Yamamoto 69
Round 3: (0)
Round 4: (1) Rick Cochran III 65
Scoring averages at the Club de Golf del Uruguay’s Par-72:
Front 9 Back 9 Total
Round 1 36.077 35.936 72.014
Round 2 36.330 35.943 72.272
Round 3 36.550 36.066 72.616
Round 4 36.383 35.966 72.350
Next events. After five events in six weeks in four different countries, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica will take a two-week break. The season will resume with two consecutive events that will mark the end of the first half of the season. The next event will be the Dominican Republic Open, May 12-18 at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog golf course in La Romana, Dominican Republic. That tournament will be followed by the first edition of the Lexus Panama Classic, May 19-25 at Buenaventura Golf Club in Rio Hato, Panama.