Power 49th as Thomas wins in record fashion; Gana wins Masters spot
 Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas

Seamus Power tied for 49th with a closing 70 as Justin Thomas broke the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record in the Sony Open.

It was Thomas’ second win on the spin and his third in his last five starts this season, helping him join Johnny Miller (1974 and 1975) and Tiger Woods (2003, 2008, 2013) as the only players since 1970 to win three of the their first five starts in a PGA Tour season. 

A former Walker Cup star and the winner of the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua the previous week, the 23-year old from Kentucky opened with an 11-under par 59 at Waialae Country Club and closed with a 65 for a seven-stroke win over Justin Rose on 27-under par 253.

The previous 72-hole scoring record was held by Tommy Armour III, who shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

"It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable,” said Thomas, who move up to eighth in the world rankings.

He is the first player since Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

“I felt like I was trying to win a tournament for second place,” said Jordan Spieth, who shot 63 to finish eight shots behind Thomas in third place.

 Justin Thomas during the final round

Justin Thomas during the final round

Thomas joined Ernie Els in 2003 in winning the opening events of the year in Hawaii, finishing on 49-under par for his two weeks, compared to Els’ 47-under.

His run started on October 23 last when he won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

Tied for 38th overnight, Power started his final round on the back nine and followed a bogey at the 13th with birdies at the 14th and 18th to get to nine under par.

He double bogeyed the third, finding water left of the green, but finished with a birdie four to finish tied for 49th on eight under par.

Power earned $14,430 to take his season’s earnings to $112,683 and he is now 108th in the FedEx Cup points list.

Gana wins Latin America Amateur and Masters spot after playoff

Latin America Championship — Chile’s Toto Gana won the third Latin America Amateur Championship with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
Standing on the 10th fairway of Club de Golf de Panama in a hole-by-hole playoff, Toto Gana, of Chile, sensed an opportunity to take charge of the 3rd Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC).
“My opponents had hit – one to the left and one to the right,” said Gana, whose name means “win” in Spanish. “I thought to myself, I have the advantage now.”
Gana had held the advantage just two holes earlier. Leading by one stroke on the 72nd hole, he sailed the green with his approach shot on the 457-yard par 4, leading to a bogey that created a three-man playoff at 1-under-par 279 with countryman Joaquin Niemann and Alvaro Ortiz, of Mexico. 
Gana then needed to hole a 10-foot putt on the first playoff hole – No. 18 again – to keep himself in the running as Niemann and Ortiz both made comfortable two-putt pars.
On the second playoff hole, the 386-yard, par-4 10th, Niemann bunkered his approach and Ortiz found the green, but left himself with a long, difficult birdie putt. Hitting last from 99 yards, Gana took his 52-degree wedge and sent the ball 2 feet from the hole to set up an easy birdie and become the second player from Chile to capture the LAAC in its three editions.
“I hit the best shot I've hit in my whole life, at the best time,” said Gana, 19, who entered the LAAC at No. 285 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR), 280 spots behind his close friend Niemann, 18. “I’ve never felt this feeling in my body before.”
Gana, who will begin studies in two weeks at Lynn University in Florida, held a two-stroke advantage on the 17th tee as he played the final round with Niemann and Ortiz. Gana made a solid two-putt par on the 177-yard par 3. Unfortunately for him, Niemann and Ortiz both made birdie putts to close within one stroke. When Gana made bogey from behind the green after hitting into a fairway bunker on the home hole, the first playoff in LAAC history was on.  
“I wasn’t so frustrated,” said Gana of losing his late lead. “What I did was keep a cool head. The only thing I wanted to do was go on and play the next hole and be as enthused as possible.”
Ortiz, the younger brother of PGA Tour professional Carlos Ortiz, rued a couple of missed final-round opportunities of his own.
“On No. 10, I made a double bogey from the middle of the fairway,” said Ortiz, who finished tied for third in the first LAAC in 2015 at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “And on No. 15 [a drivable, 280-yard par 4], I hit a perfect 3-wood to the middle of the green and I three-putted [for par]. That was the one that I really thought was going to cost me.”
Ortiz rebounded with a birdie on No. 17, and despite finishing as joint runner-up, the junior at the University of Arkansas was upbeat.
“I’m just happy that I gave myself a chance to win again,” said Ortiz, 21, who is No. 250 in the WAGR. “I think I learned a lot from both Toto and Joaquin. You could see the feeling they had, of wanting to win, and it was amazing to be a part of it.”
Gana joins Matias Dominguez as LAAC champions from Chile, and his mental toughness is a product of his work ethic – he noted that he has practiced every day for the past year and a half.
“I think what Matias did was give a boost to my generation,” said Gana. “He showed us that Chileans are able to win big things. Players like him, [PGA Tour player] Benjamin Alvarado and [Web.com Tour player] Guillermo Pereira, knowing they are there makes me want to do it as well, because I know we can.”
Niemann, who plans to enroll at the University of South Florida in the fall, offset a double-bogey 6 at the ninth hole and a pair of bogeys with four birdies on the day as the final grouping settled into a near-match play competition on the final few holes. Despite his close call, Niemann was thrilled for his close friend’s victory.
“I believe he deserves it 100 percent, all the sacrifice he makes,” said Niemann. “I am very happy for him and I'm waiting for next year so I can have my chance.”
Two players in the next-to-last grouping challenged the playoff trio, and they were the youngest and oldest to make the cut. Julian Perico, 17, of Peru, who led after a record opening round of 64, finished with a 1-under 69 to finish at even-par 280. Perico was joined there in a tie for fourth by Alvaro E. Ortiz, 48, of Costa Rica, the second-round leader, who closed with an even-par 70 after narrowly missing a few birdie bids down the stretch. 
With his victory, Gana earns entry into the 2017 Masters Tournament, as well as exemptions into The Amateur Championship (conducted by The R&A) and the U.S. Amateur Championship (conducted by the United States Golf Association). Along with Ortiz and Niemann, he earns spots in final qualifying for both the U.S. Open and The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
Next up, Chile will serve as host of the 2018 LAAC, at Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago.
“This win shows the commitment and the effort all the golfers are putting in, and it’s mainly because of the LAAC,” said Dominguez, a product of Texas Tech University. “They can see a huge opportunity in their lives, golf as a vehicle of education, to go to college and have a chance to go to the Masters. This competition also allows us to make really good friends, lifelong friends.” 

3rd Latin America Amateur Championship

72-Hole Scores * Won second playoff hole

Toto Gana, CHI - 68-71-69-71—279 *

Alvaro Ortiz, MEX - 71-70-67-71--279

Joaquín Niemann, CHI - 72-70-67-70--279

Julian Périco, PER - 64-75-72-69--280

Alvaro E. Ortiz, CRC - 71-66-73-70--280

José Luis Montaño, BOL - 67-72-75-69--283

Raul Pereda, MEX - 69-71-75-68--283

Miguel Ordoñez, PAN - 67-76-68-73--284

Nicolas Echavarria, COL - 67-72-71-74--284

Andres Gallegos, ARG - 73-66-75-70--284

Eithel McGowen, PER - 71-69-72-73--285

Cristobal del Solar, CHI - 70-72-72-72--286

Alejandro Tosti, ARG - 74-74-70-68--286

Mateo Gomez, COL - 70-77-71-69--287

Matias Dominguez, CHI - 70-78-71-68--287

Alejandro Villavicencio, GUA - 65-73-74-76--288

Jesus Dario Montenegro, ARG - 72-71-74-71--288

Paul Chaplet, CRC - 71-75-74-68--288

Manuel Torres, VEN - 73-68-73-74--288

Lucas Rosso, CHI - 71-74-74-69--288

Matias Lezcano, ARG - 72-73-73-70--288

Luis Fernando Barco, PER - 70-74-74-71--289

Carlos Ardila, COL - 75-69-75-70--289

Gustavo Silvero, PAR - 71-73-74-72--290

Alejandro Restrepo, VEN - 73-76-68-73--290

Gustavo Chuang, BRA - 69-72-77-73--291

Gaston Bertinotti, ARG - 68-75-73-75--291

Santiago Gomez, COL - 68-76-74-73--291

Claudio Correa, CHI - 75-72-74-70--291

Jorge Garcia, VEN - 71-76-71-74--292

Devaughn Robinson, BAH - 74-73-73-72--292

Juan José Guerra, DOM - 73-74-73-72--292

Jaime Lopez Rivarola, ARG - 74-71-79-68--292

Rafael Miranda, ECU - 70-77-74-72--293

Pablo Andres Torres Hernandez, COL - 73-75-75-71--294

Sebastian Lopez, COL - 75-71-74-74--294

Gabriel Morgan Birke, CHI - 75-73-72-75--295

Herik Machado, BRA - 71-67-79-79--296

Luis Gerardo Garza, MEX - 75-69-73-79--296

Pedro H.N. Nagayama, BRA - 72-75-77-73--297

Talin Rajendranath, TRI - 74-72-75-77--298

Gustavo Morantes, VEN - 71-77-76-74--298

Marcos Aurelio Negrini, BRA - 72-76-78-73--299

Jeronimo Esteve, PUR - 68-78-78-75--299

Alejandro Valenzuela, BOL - 75-74-78-72--299

Ian Facey, JAM - 75-73-77-74--299

José Andres Miranda, ECU - 71-76-77-76--300

Alejandro Perazzo, VEN - 73-76-77-77--303

Kevin Donegan O'Connell, ISV - 73-75-78-79--305

Max Alverio, PUR - 77-69-85-77--308

José Narro, MEX - 71-78-84-77--310

George Trujillo, VEN - 71-70-77-WD

Cut

Juan Miguel Heredia, ECU - 75-75----150

Andy Schonbaum, ARG - 73-77----150

Sebastian Barnoya, GUA - 76-74----150

James Johnson, BAR - 76-74----150

Rohan Boettcher, BRA - 76-74----150

Esteban Missura, ECU - 77-73----150

Liam Bryden, TRI - 75-75----150

Horacio Carbonetti, ARG - 74-77----151

Sebastian Salazar, ECU - 74-77----151

Mike Dunne, PAN - 78-73----151

James Yoon, PAR - 69-82----151

Daniel Kenji Ishii, BRA - 72-79----151

Sachin Kumar, TRI - 74-77----151

Santiago Urrutia, PER - 75-77----152

Fernando Cruz Valle, MEX - 73-79----152

Juan Carlos Serrano, MEX - 74-78----152

Payten Wight, CAY - 74-78----152

Raul Carbonell, PAN - 74-79----153

Daniel Gurtner, GUA - 79-74----153

Ivan Camilo Ramirez, COL - 78-75----153

Walker Campbell, BER - 76-77----153

José Guillermo Lewis, PAN - 75-79----154

Enrique Valverde, DOM - 75-79----154

Erick Juan Morales, PUR - 80-74----154

Luis Cargiulo, PAN - 72-82----154

Ernesto Marin, NCA - 75-79----154

Pablo Castellanos, GUA - 77-77----154

Alfredo Ruiz, MEX - 76-79----155

Mario Carmona, MEX - 74-81----155

Alonso Palma, PER - 73-82----155

Geoffry Schacher, HON - 79-76----155

Bobby Moore, ESA - 75-80----155

Daniel Faccini, COL - 79-77----156

José Mendez, CRC - 77-79----156

Rodrigo Sol, ESA - 76-81----157

Sergio Roman, ECU - 77-80----157

Nicholas Teuten, URU - 79-78----157

Chicho Vaccaro, PAR - 80-77----157

Michael Wight, CAY - 77-80----157

Jonathan Newnham, JAM - 80-78----158

Jarryd Dillas, BER - 80-78----158

Matthew Marquez, TRI - 77-81----158

Carlos Clement, PAN - 78-80----158

Steven Kemp, BAH - 78-83----161

Henry Kattan, HON - 82-80----162

Andres Russi, CRC - 80-82----162

Jorge Luciano Melendez, GUA - 77-85----162

Trevor Levine, ISV - 80-83----163

Eugene Edwin, LCA - 83-81----164

Scott Stollmeyer, BAR - 85-79----164

Sebastian Smith, CHI - 76-89----165

Facundo Alvarez, URU - 83-82----165

George Scanlon, BOL - 82-84----166

Corey Devaux, LCA - 83-87----170

Felipe Strobach, PER - 78-WD

Agustin Tarigo, URU - 72-WD

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