Things are hotting up in Chile for Aguilar
It was a significant week for the South Americans on the Road to Rio, as it seemed that the golfers representing Chile and Venezuela were determined not to miss out on the Olympic Games on their home continent.
Among the major new entries on the Olympic Golf Rankings is a first appearance for Chile, in the guise of Felipe Aguilar [pictured below] who, despite being edged into second place in the Volvo China Open on the European Tour, comes into the Rio reckoning in 54th place. Aguilar had missed six consecutive cuts before the runner-up finish which brings his Olympic dream sharply into focus.
The tournament winner, Hautong Li, celebrated his first EuropeanTour victory in his native country by moving into the Olympic Rankings in 39th position, with Ashun Wu dropping out of the top 60.
On the PGA Tour’s delayed finish in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas tied for fifth behind first-time winner Brian Stuard to climb six places from 54th to 48th on the Rankings. Stuard won a play-off with Jamie Lovemark and a man with a potent Olympic pedigree – Byeong Hun An, whose mother and father represented China and South Korea respectively at table tennis at the Seoul Olympics.
“It means a lot for me. Just amazing. That was the most nervous I’ve been in my life but a lot of doors open now, like the Olympic. Now it’s really close.” Haotong Li
“I’m into the Olympics now representing my country. There are too many positive things just to worry about one bad shot. It’s going to be fun. I’m going to have my wife as a caddie and my team is going to be travelling with me so it’s going to be a really good experience. I’m looking forward to everything that is happening now.” Felipe Aguilar
After five and a half years on Tour, Jenny Shin [pictured below] of Korea made her big breakthrough on the LPGA Tour by winning the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JBTC. Gerina Piller from the USA finished tied second alongside two more Koreans, Amy Yang and Mi Jung Hur.
Amy Yang, now returned to eighth on the Road to Rio, replaces Ha-Na Yang in the Rankings and is one of a quartet of Korean golfers inside the top 15 and currently all eligible to play in Brazil.
Americans Lexi Thompson (No.3) and Stacy Lewis (No.4) are leading the US qualifiers, but Piller’s strong finish still gives her an outside chance of moving inside the top 15.
Giulia Molinaro replaces Diane Luna in the Italy team, entering the Rankings in 50th position.
“After five and a half years of people questioning me: ‘When is your first win going to be?’, I learned to deal with the mental stress. Nothing’s easy. Golf is not easy. I didn’t have my ‘A’ game so it makes me very hapy to win.” Jenny Shin