Brazil and Colombia triumph at Copa los Andes

Hosts Brazil and an impressive Colombian team triumphed at the 66th Copa Los Andes, South America’s premier amateur team championship.

Played over four days at the Gavea Golf Club, Rio de Janeiro, The R&A supported event brought together five-player men’s and women’s teams from nine nations in a series of foursomes and singles matches.

In the women’s competition, Argentina led at the halfway stage after impressive wins over Equador and Venezuela in humid and wet conditions saw them overtake early leaders Colombia who were held to draws by both Brazil and Peru.

Day three began with the threat of more stormy weather but the skies cleared with Colombia making the most of the calm conditions to defeat Argentina, who were also held to a draw by Paraguay.

The final day saw Colombia run out as easy winners with comfortable victories over Venezuela and Uruguay.

The men’s section was a far closer contest with perhaps the strongest field in the competition’s history. The young talent on display included Venezuela’s Julio Vegas, brother of PGA TOUR star Jhonattan, and a sign of the rising standard of South American golf.

Three days of close competition saw Brazil enter the final round of matches with a narrow one point lead over Chile. The results of the morning’s foursomes tied the scores and by the close of play the two sides could not be separated and finished on 13 points each.

They could only be separated by their head-to-head result meaning that Brazil’s victory over Chile on day two saw the hosts receive the trophy from R&A Golf Development Committee Chairman Ronnie Hanna.

The R&A has supported the championships since they were last held in Brazil in 2002, and, with this year’s grant of £30,000, the total contribution to the running of the event over the past nine years has reached £242,000.

Alison White, The R&A’s Assistant Director of Golf Development, said: “Every year we see an improvement in the quality of competitive golf in South America and 2011 was no exception.

 “The Copa los Andes is an important and enjoyable event for players, officials and spectators, and will only grow in stature and profile as golf’s re-introduction to the Olympics at Rio 2016 approaches.”