Del Olmo Uses Sponsors Invite To Win Ixtapa Classic


Canadian Tour-LargePablo del Olmo capped off a dominant week-long performance on his native soil Sunday to win the Canadian Tours Michelin Ixtapa Classic.
The 32-year-old Asian Tour member, playing in this event on a sponsors exemption, carded a final round 7-under 65 at Palma Real Golf Club for a four-day total of 21-under 267, four shots in front of Californian Bryan Saltus. Michael Kirk of South Africa tied the course-record 64 and wound up third at 16-under, while Steve Scott of Wellington, Fla., was 15-under 273.
Bryan DeCorso of Guelph, Ontario,, who also moonlights as a course reporter for The Golf Channel, was the top Canadian at 14-under. Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ontario, also matched the record 8-under 64 Sunday to end up T35.
His victory Sunday ensures del Olmo receives exemption onto the Canadian Tour through the end of the 2004 season. With the Asian Tour resuming next week in Korea, del Olmo will fly back overseas but will keep his options open about returning to North America to play in Canada later this summer.
Id love to play here in the future, after I get back from Korea (in May), said del Olmo. Its probably one of the worlds fastest-growing Tours. There were some great players, but I also liked the atmosphere here. The scores are low every week. Im looking forward to getting into as many events as I can.
On Sunday, del Olmo put the finishing touches on what was a wire-to-wire triumph, in which he held at least a share on the lead from the opening round on. Heading into play tied with Munoz, del Olmo made an early statement by hitting his second shot on the par-5 opening hole to within two feet and draining the eagle putt. He then had tap-in birdies on three of his next four holes.
The quick start made it a bit easier for me. After that, it was a struggle not to get ahead of myself. I played in the present, and just concentrated shot by shot.
Saltus, now into his second year on the Canadian Tour, enjoyed his lowest-ever total score. At one point, he pulled to within three shots but that was as close as he could get.
Youve got to hand it to that guy, he just played fantastic all week, said Saltus of del Olmo. I was stoked out there today, but its been so relaxing all week. Every day has been like a vacation.
The surfer-turned-golfer, easily one of the more colorful players on Tour, was asked if he would use part of his $14,400 check to purchase a new surfboard.
Naw, Ill be up in Canada all summer and Ill be golfing, not surfing. But trust me, Ill be in rare form (Sunday night).
DeCorso will now fly across the continent to Myrtle Beach, S.C., this week where he will be behind microphoned for The Golf Channel at the Canadian Tours Barefoot Classic.
Yeah, the guys will probably tell me if I could get to 14-under, then it must have been an easy course, he laughed. But Ive played well all off-season (in Florida), but I just havent played many Tour events.
Coming off a second-place showing at the Scottsdale Swing at Eagle Mountain, Gillespie, 23, had an up-and-down week here, posting rounds of 75-66-76-64.
Believe it or not, I hardly made any putts all day, he said. I was just hitting it close every hole. Had my putting been on, I could have had just a stupid score.