Bronze for Paula Grant as Alex Gleeson takes fifth in Argentina
 Paula Grant shows off her bronze medal after her third place finish in the South American Amateur Championship in Argentina.

Paula Grant shows off her bronze medal after her third place finish in the South American Amateur Championship in Argentina.

Lisburn's Paula Grant will be keen to challenge for a Curtis Cup place this year and she showed she will fight right to the death for her chance when she closed with a 69 to finish a brilliant third in the South American Amateur Championship in Argentina.

On a day when Castle's Alex Gleeson tied for fifth in the men's championship and Robin Dawson produced a fast finish to claim a share of 12th, Grant ended up just two shots behind Paraguay's Milagros Chaves, who claimed victory with a chip-in birdie at the last as the overnight leader Silvia Garces double bogeyed.

"It was a great week and the clubs arriving a day late wasn’t a major issue," said a delighted Grant, whose clubs and luggage were delayed in transit — the clubs remaining in Heathrow as her baggage was sent to Chile instead of Buenos Aires — but leaves now with a bronze medal in her carry on.

 Castle's Alex Gleeson during the third round at Martindale Country Club in Buenos Aires

Castle's Alex Gleeson during the third round at Martindale Country Club in Buenos Aires

"I just tried to do as much preparation as I could. It was nice to be able to dig deep and put in some good rounds after the bad start."

The Irish Women’s Close champion was three shots behind Garces at Martindale Country Club overnight but after going out in two under, she followed bogeys at the 10th and 11th with three birdies on the spin from the 13th.

She was still four-under for the championship with two holes to play and briefly found herself in a tie for the lead with Chaves and Garces, who were playing in the group behind.

As Grant finished par-par for a 69 to lead in the clubhouse on four-under 284, Chaves followed a birdie at the 16th with another at the par-five 17th, where Garces made an eagle three to lead by two strokes from the Paraguayan on seven-under.

 Podium finish for Paula Grant 

Podium finish for Paula Grant 

But the Colombian found greenside sand in two at the 18th, came up short of the green with her third and then chipped poorly 15 feet right of the hole after seeing Chaves spectacularly chip in for birdie three after going through the back of the green.

The winner shot a 69 to win by a shot on six-under-par from Garces, who missed her bogey putt to force a playoff,  with Grant a further shot back in third. 

Her clubs eventually arrived the evening before the second practice day and she did not feel that had anything to do with a four-over-par opening 76, which arguably cost her dear.

 Paula Grant lets fly

Paula Grant lets fly

An optometrist by profession, she plans to play all the big women's events this year, adding: "Yes I’ll play everything, I do locum work which is flexible so it’s perfect for golf."

Lurgan's Annabel Wilson, another likely Curtis Cup contender, shot 76 on the final day to share 22nd on nine-over.

Victory was always going to be a challenge for Gleeson in the men's event as he began the final day eight strokes behind Canada's Chris Crisologo, the eventual winner.

The Castle player was alone in fourth,  five off the lead with nine to play after going out in one-under 35 to Crisologo's 38.

 Champions Chris Crisologo and 

Champions Chris Crisologo and 

But a level par back nine featuring two birdies and two bogeys meant he signed a one-under 71 and finished tied for fifth on seven-under with New Zealander Charlie Hillier.

Crisologo was just three ahead of Alejandro Tosti at the turn but birdied the 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th to go seven ahead and while he bogeyed the 15th, 16th and 18th, he still shot 73 to win by four shots from the Argentinian on 13-under par, clinching a place in the European Amateur Championship this summer.

 Robin Dawson had a good week

Robin Dawson had a good week

Dawson can also be pleased with his first outing since last year's European Tour Qualifying School, making fewer mistakes than the winner over the four days but recording "just" 14 birdies to Crisologo's haul of an eagle and 23 birdies with eight of them coming in a third round 64.

Former "Close" champion Gleeson made 20 birdies and 13 bogeys over the 72 holes and like Dawson, he will be looking forward to next month's trip to South Africa for the South African Stroke Play Championship and the African Amateur Championship.

South American Amateur Open Championship, Martindale Country Club (Par 72)

Men

Detailed scores

1 CAN Chris CRISOLOGO -13 72 64 66 73 275
2 ARG Alejandro TOSTI -9 67 75 70 67 279
3 MEX Aaron TERRAZAS -8 68 72 71 69 280
3 ECU Rafael MIRANDA -8 70 68 72 70 280
5 IRL Alex GLEESON -7 70 70 70 71 281
5 NZL Charlie HILLIER -7 70 72 67 72 281
7 USA Matt PARZIALE -6 71 70 72 69 282
7 PAR Gustavo SILVERO M -6 68 73 70 71 282
9 NZL Henry SPRING F -5 72 70 73 68 283
9 CHI Gabriel MORGAN B -5 74 71 69 69 283
9 ARG Horacio CARBONETTI -5 68 72 70 73 283
12 CAN Matt WILLIAMS -4 72 73 70 69 284
12 IRL Robin DAWSON -4 70 74 71 69 284
12 USA Scott HARVEY -4 68 76 69 71 284
12 ARG Andres SCHONBAUM (H) -4 70 72 70 72 284
12 ENG Jack GAUNT -4 72 69 70 73 284
12 PRT Pedro LENCART SILVA -4 71 70 68 75 284

Women

Detailed scores

1 PAR Milagros CHAVES -6 71 72 70 69 282
2 COL Silvia M. GARCES -5 68 74 70 71 283
3 IRL Paula GRANT -4 76 72 67 69 284
4  COL Maria C SERRANO -2 70 71 71 74 286
5 SCO Hannah MCCOOK -1 72 73 74 68 287
6 NZL Britney DRYLAND Par 73 76 70 69 288
6 ARG Ayelen IRIZAR Par 72 72 71 73 288
8 CAN Celeste DAO +1 72 72 76 69 289
8 ENG Emma ALLEN 72 72 72 73 289
10 PER Daniela BALLESTEROS +2 70 74 72 74 290
22 IRL Annabel WILSON +9 72 80 69 76 297