- Aberto do Brasil
Aberto do Brasil
São Paulo Golf Club is the oldest club in Brazil, formed in 1901, so the game has been played in an organized format for well over a century in this country. The national Amateur championship was inaugurated in 1929, with the first edition played at Gávea in Rio de Janeiro. The early years of hosting this event then alternated between Gávea and São Paulo (apart from 1933 when it was played on the 9-hole course at Santos São Vicente).
The first Aberto do Brasil (Brazil Open) was also played at Gávea Golf & Country Club in 1945, with Argentinian Martin Pose winning the championship. Pose had already won both the Argentine Open and Argentine PGA twice in previous years so he was well accustomed to holding off the opposition when it came to securing important national golf competitions.
Another Argentine golfer, Roberto de Vicenzo, finished two shots adrift in the runner-up slot, a position he would learn to life with only too well, finishing second in four of the next five editions between 1946 and 1951. He did, however, go on to lift the trophy six times between 1954 and 1973 so the Open eventually turned out to be a happy hunting ground for him.
The man who prevented him dominating during the early years of the Brazilian Open was Mário Gonzalez (commonly known as “the father of Brazilian golf”) who won seven of the nine championships staged between 1946 and 1955 – and he claimed another at Porto Alegre in 1969 at the age of 46. Mário’s first two victories were as an amateur and he also won his national Amateur title nine times between 1939 and 1949.
A few big-name American players made their mark on the tournament in the 1950s – Sam Snead won by a record 12 strokes in São Paulo in 1952 and Billy Casper claimed back-to-back titles in 1958-59 – before the Europeans arrived during the 1960s: Englishmen Peter Alliss and Bernard Hunt winning in 1961 and 1962; then Spain’s Ramón Sota doing likewise in 1965.
During the 1970s and 1980s, fourteen out of eighteen winners (there was no Open played in 1987 or 1989) were either American or Argentinian. Golfers like Raymond Floyd (1978), Jerry Pate (1980) and Hale Irwin (1982) collected the silverware for the United States while Vicente Fernández from Argentina notched a hat-trick of victories between 1977 and 1984.
There were also wins for South African Gary Player (twice at Gávea in 1972 and 1974) and São Paulo-born Priscillo Diniz became the first amateur in twenty-seven years to capture the title in 1975 when he edged out Lanny Wadkins after a playoff in his home city.
Fellow countryman Eduardo Caballero followed this rare home win in 1986 with a two-stroke victory at São Fernando before a brilliant 4-year-long streak of Brazilian success began in 1992 at a new Open venue, Clube Curitibano de Golfe in Paraná. Ricardo Mechereffe won the 45th edition of the Open that year, paving the way for another three of his compatriots to emulate his achievement from 1993 to 1995.
In the new millennium, nearly all the golfers to win the Aberto do Brasil have been from South America, with the only exceptions to this being Americans Ryan Blaum (at Gávea in 2013) and Shad Tuten (at Fazenda Boa Vista in 2019), along with Rodolfo Cazaubón from Mexico at the Rio 2016 Olympic Course in 2017.
As at 2019, São Paulo has hosted the tournament 21 times and it’s been held at Gávea 16 times. Both São Fernando and Itanhangá have staged the event on 8 occasions. You’ll not find Costa do Sauipe (2004 and 2005) listed below as it’s not currently included in our Brazilian rankings.
Aberto do Brasil Top 100 Leaderboard