BERAZATEGUI, Argentina—PGA TOUR Latinoamérica is honoring a Latin American golf legend this week, and the Tour is doing it at a legendary golf course. In honor of what would have been Roberto De Vicenzo’s 100th birthday next month, the Tour is holding the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years at Ranelagh Golf Club, one of Argentina’s oldest golf courses and the place where De Vicenzo honed his game on his way to 230 career titles, 15 national open victories and a win at the 1967 Open Championship.
Rightly so, De Vicenzo became the first Latin player to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame, and the club unveiled a statue of El Maestro on Tuesday, adjacent to the first tee.
This week, at the fifth tournament of the 2022-23 Totalplay Cup season, players are learning what makes Ranelagh so special, with the 72-hole tournament getting underway Thursday.
Players can’t walk inside the clubhouse and miss all the photos of Ranelagh’s greatest member. They know, too, that Ranelagh’s old-style setup resembles very little of what they have seen already this season, especially last week in Termas de Rio Hondo.
“It’s tight. It’s very firm in the fairways. It’s a completely different test than what we faced last week,” said Canadian Myles Creighton, three days after tying for third with Ollie Osbourne at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational. “I think that’s what’s so great about this Tour. Week in and week out, it’s a different test, a different challenge. You can really become a more-complete player by playing this Tour.”
Throughout his career, De Vicenzo played all over the world but always returned to Ranelagh, where he would host some of the greats of the game when they would venture to South America. Seve Ballesteros gave the course high marks, as did Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead and Lloyd Mangrum, among many others.
“For the Argentines, De Vicenzo is really special. I didn’t know him. But I just know him from the stories I’ve been hearing and the videos I’ve watched,” said Jesus Montenegro, runner-up last week.
To the current crop of professionals playing on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, the first thing they seemingly noticed about the course, that features no par-5s on the front nine and three par-5s on the back side, are the modest-sized greens and the smallness of the property that leaves fairways close together, running side by side.
“There are some holes that we need to be really careful of, from 1 to 4, depending on the wind,” Montenegro continued. “Then on the back nine, you have from 10 to 14 where you can make some birdies. But you need to be really good off the tee.”
“The greens are small. It will be about finding the right club off these tees,” observed Creighton, who is playing in Wednesday’s pro-am, his first 18-hole tour around Ranelagh. “I will figure out a gameplan.”
A week ago, Josh Goldenberg chipped in for eagle to close his second round in Termas de Rio Hondo. Unbeknownst to him, his final stroke of the day allowed him to make the cut on the number. He went to work from there, shooting weekend scores of 65-66 (13-under) to tie for fifth, two strokes out of the Jake McCrory-Jesus Montenegro playoff that McCrory won.
“I was able to play freely on the weekend and see how low I could go, chasing the leaders,” Goldenberg said after adding an additional 36 holes last week. “I was pretty close there toward the end and was really happy how I did.
Goldenberg, like Creighton, knows Ranelagh presents an entirely different set of challenges.
“There are some birdie holes, but I think making par on a lot of holes is a good score,” the New York native added, noting being patient, especially off the tee and with approach shots, will be important this week. “You want to be in the right spot on the greens. But being on the greens on this course is a bonus because they’re smaller than they were last week. Knowing when to back off and shoot for the middle of the green on some holes is going to be important.”
Goldenberg slid into the top 10 of the Totalplay Cup standings, holding down the 10th position, while Myles Creighton is seventh, followed immediately by Montenegro. The overall leader is still Cristobal Del Solar, based on his strong, early season play. Del Solar is in Savannah, Georgia, this week for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club. Linus Lilliedahl, No. 2 in the standings, is in this week’s field at Ranelagh and trails Del Solar by 76 points. A good showing will allow the Swede to overtake him.
Also coming to a conclusion is the Zurich Argentina Swing. Creighton is fifth in the Swing standings after three tournaments, while Goldenberg is 13th. The final event is this week, with the player with the most points earned in the Tour’s four Argentina-based events, earning a U.S. $10,000 bonus.
“I’m trying to finish that Zurich swing strong. Maybe if I can get a win this week, I can take the Zurich Argentina Swing,” said Goldenberg, who would have to win the tournament and have other things fall in his favor to take the title. Goldenberg and Creighton are two of the nine players in the field still in mathematical contention to win the Swing.