Without a team in the World Cup, there hasn’t been a lot of applause on the sports scene in Paraguay – at least until Sunday.
Thirty-one-year-old Fabrizio Zanotti shot his second straight 65 on Sunday to fight his way into a four-way playoff at the BMW International Open, then won the entire tournament on the fifth hole, outdueling world No. 2 Henrik Stenson on the final playoff hole.
Zanotti is the first son of Paraguay to ever win an European Tour event, after finishing as a runner-up three times.
His 65 allowed him to forge a tie with Stenson, France’s Gregory Havret and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Havret was the first one out of the playoff, when the other three men all birdied the second playoff hole and he couldn’t follow suit.
Cabrera-Bello, who had been the leader throughout much of the tournament, was next, and Stenson fell off the pace when he put his final tee shot in the water, then went from there into a bunker, finally conceding the hole, and the tournament, to Zanotti.
Zanotti was barely a blip on the radar after one day at the tournament, with an even-par 72. After the 16th hole of the second round, he never had another bogey, recording 15 birdies in his final 38 holes.
Zanotti moved up from 18th to a tie for first ont he final day; while France’s Havret jumped eight spots with his final-round 66.
Cabrera-Bello was at even par through 14 holes on Sunday, then caught fire down the stretch, with a closing burst of birdie, eagle, birdie on his final three holes.
Stenson just missed winning the tournament in regulation, with a putt just missing for birdie on No. 18. Stenson was 1-over at the turn, then caught fire in a four-hole stretch where he shaved five strokes off his score.
Day Three leader Pablo Larrazabal slid seven sports to finish tied for eighth, shooting an even-par 72. He tied for eighth with Emiliano Grillo and Thomas Bjorn, both of whom had been tied for second before the round started.