With 127 competitors from 18 countries, the 63rd edition of the Brazil Open – the country’s most traditional golf competition – ended today at the Olympic Golf Course in Barra da Tijuca. The Argentinian Jorge Fernandez-Valdes was victorious with two advantage shots over three competitors who drew in second place. Fernandez-Valdes said he was impressed with the course’s design.
“I had already learned from Argentinian friends who were here before me that the course was spectacular. Those who built it did a great job,” said the athlete, who faced the challenge of playing the final under the rain.
The tournament, which started on Thursday (Sep 22), was the first competition hosted at the Olympic venue after the Rio 2016 Games. It marked the beginning of the legacy and offered free tickets and lessons to the public. The Brazil Open is part of the PGA Tour Latinoamérica, the continent’s main golf circuit, which gives slots to the Web.com Tour, which in turn gives access to the PGA of America. The country with the highest number of representatives in the Brazil Open was the US, with 38 golfers, followed by Brazil, with 32 athletes, and Argentina, with 19.
More than 40 children and teenagers of the Municipal Schools of Ciep Nelson Mandela, in Campo Grande, and Gastão Rangel, in Guaratiba – who participated in the Golfe Para a Vida program (Golf for Life Program) of the Brazilian Golf Confederation – attended the event to take lessons at the Olympic Golf Course. The venue will be the national headquarters of the Golfe Para a Vida program, which has already brought the sport to nearly 80,000 children in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, 2,000 young people already take regular golf lessons at schools and will soon enter the second phase of the program, where they will get to practice at the Olympic Course. Tássio de Oliveira Souza, 16, is a 9th grader at the Gastão Rangel Municipal School and one of those lucky teens. He was the first student to practice golf at his school, two years ago, with the arrival of Golfe para a Vida. “I was in the courtyard when I saw some people playing. I found it interesting and I asked the instructor if I could sign up for it. Since then I’ve been dedicating myself a lot and now I have the chance to work here at the golf course as a young apprentice. I start in October and I’m very excited,” said Tássio, who was at the Olympic course for the first time in March, during the golf test event for the Rio 2016 Games.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games marked the return of the sport to the Olympics after 112 years of absence. During the awards ceremony, golf commentator Marco Antônio Rodrigues pointed out that the Olympic dream began 4 years ago, with the start of the construction works. “Today we have here as a result this wonderful golf course, the spectacular Olympic Games we had, and these children, who are here representing the future of golf. We hope that in a few years we’ll have 200,000 Brazilian boys and girls playing the sport.”
As of October, the Olympic Golf Course will partially open to the public, becoming Brazil’s first 18-hole public golf course of international level. Access to facilities will be free. Those who wish to play at the course must pay a fee that will be announced soon.
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