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Audi Takes Slim Lead After Opening Round Of Polo Gear Challenge Cup At Grand Champions

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Audi Takes Slim Lead After Opening Round Of Polo Gear Challenge Cup At Grand Champions

WELLINGTON, Fla., October 26, 2019---Trailing 5-2 going into the third and final chukker of the day, Audi rallied to defeat Sebucan, 7-6, to take the lead after the opening round of the Polo Gear Challenge Cup Friday at windy Grand Champions Polo Club.


Nic Roldan of Audi follows up his shot downfield.

Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Grant Ganzi, 3, Nic Roldan, 8, Juancito Bollini, 4) also defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Jason Crowder, 6, Juan Bollini, 5), 5-4, in the opening round robin game. 

In the other game Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Brandon Phillips, 4, Sterling Giannico, 4), making its fall debut, edged Flexjet, 5-4. 

Grant Ganzi of Audi goes to defend Juan Bollini of Flexjet.

The scores carry over into Sunday's championship final at 10 a.m. at Grand Champions. Audi has 12, Sebucan, 11, and Flexjet, 8.

In the most exciting game of the round robin, Sebucan looked to be in control of the third and final game with a 5-1 lead in the second chukker. Audi rallied to score three unanswered goals by Roldan (two penalty conversions and one from the field) for a 5-4 lead with 1:25 left in the second chukker. 

Pablo Pulido of Sebucan hooks Pablo Spinacci of Flexjet.

Giannico's incredible angled neck shot gave Sebucan a 6-4 lead. Roldan came back with two more goals and Ganzi scored the game-winner. Phillips was on a final scoring drive before time ran out.

Jason Crowder of Flexjet and Sugar Erskine of Sebucan battle for the ball.

"We played a lot stronger the last two chukkers," Roldan said. "We had to mark up a little more, we got a couple good fouls. I scored a couple of penalty shots and a couple of long balls that were lucky to go in.

"At the end of the day, it's anyone's game playing these round robins," Roldan said. "It's a good set up. The fields are great and the weather has been great. It's nice to be back here at Grand Champions playing in the fall."

Sebucan teammates Sugar Erskine and Pablo Pulido double team 
Jason Crowder of Flexjet.

Roldan finished with five goals and Ganzi added two goals. Phillips had three goals for Sebucan.

In the opening game, Audi jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Flexjet dug itself out of a hole and trailed 4-3 after Crowder scored with 3:30 left in the third chukker. Audi extended its lead, 5-3, at the 1:20 mark. Flexjet missed two scoring opportunities before Melissa Ganzi converted a 30-yard penalty to trail, 5-4, before time ran out. 

Melissa Ganzi of Flexjet scoring one of her four goals of the day with Sterling Giannico of Sebucan defending.

In the second game, Flexjet lost another close one despite leading the first two chukkers. With the score tied, 4-4, late in the game, Sugar Erskine scored the game-winner on an amazing near side back shot.

Melissa Ganzi, Phillips and Giannico each finished with four goals for the day.

Earlier in the day, Roldan, competed in the Kids Cancer Foundation Golf Tournament at Wellington National Golf Club. Roldan is Ambassador for the Royal Palm Beach-based organization. Brandon Phillips, a cancer survivor, also competed in the event.

Jason Crowder of Flexjet attempts to hook Brandon Phillips of Sebucan.

"It was super successful with a huge turnout," Roldan said. "Brandon lived it so for him it's a whole other story. I just love to support the cause and I love kids. Anything I can do for them especially in my local hometown. 

"Kids Cancer Foundation is important to us. Marc and Melissa Ganzi supported it which is great and to have the club supporting us is amazing. We are blessed with what we have and I think all of us should be doing the same thing."

Pablo Pulido of Sebucan rides off Pablo Spinacci of Flexjet.

Grand Champions Polo Club was a Bronze Sponsor for the event. Grand Champions and the Ganzi family are actively involved in several charity events. Recently, Grant Ganzi organized the Grand Champions Cares Bahamas Relief Fund Raiser that raised $25,000 to help those devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

The 2018 fall Polo Gear Challenge Cup champion was Whitehall Ranch, making its fall debut. The foursome of Bill Lane, Sugar Erskine, Whistle Uys and Pablo Dorignac knocked off Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, Mariano Gracida, Julio Gracida, Tito Gaudenzi)with a thrilling 11-10 victory. With 12 seconds left in regulation time, Erskine converted a 60-yard penalty to clinch the win and end Sebucan's hopes of winning its fourth consecutive tournament of the season. Dorignac scored five goals and was MVP.

There is no mistaking Sugar Erskine of Sebucan with his trademark red mohawk helmet.

In 2017, Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Kris Kampsen, Carlucho Arellano, Tim Dutta) came from behind to defeat Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, Benjamin Avendano, Pablo Dorignac, Guille Aguero), 8-6.  Avendano, playing above his handicap, was MVP after scoring four goals and seven total for the two-day tournament.

The winners of the first two tournaments at Grand Champions were: Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Spinacci, Juan Bollini), Tackeria Invitational and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Jason Crowder), US Trust Cup.

With a little help from his horse, Sugar Erskine keeps control of the ball with Juancito Bollini of Audi defending.

During the 2019 fall season, the nation's largest polo club is hosting both medium and high goal polo featuring six medium goal tournaments and two 20-goal tournaments. 

The fall season serves as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world. 

The 2019 fall season is highlighted by the International Cup featuring Team USA against France; Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial, inaugural Wellington Open 20 and USPA National 20.
 
Grant Ganzi of Audi goes for the big hit downfield with Pablo Pulido of Sebucan defending.

The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa.

Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting 20-goal tournaments this season.

Sterling Giannico of Sebucan hits away with Juancito Bollini of Audi defending.

The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player's polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players.

Club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, both accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The husband and wife team are coming off their most successful and historical summer season at Grand Champions' sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club.

Juancito Bollini of Audi maintains possession despite being double teamed by Pablo Pulido and Brandon Phillips of Sebucan.
Photos by Candace Ferreira for Grand Champions Polo Club

The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend. Food and refreshments are available for players and fans after the finals.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its' expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.

Grand Champions Polo Club was a Bronze Sponsor of Friday's successful Kids Cancer Foundation Golf Tournament fundraiser.

The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its' mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099.

Wellington-based ChukkerTV will live stream the entire fall season. ChukkerTV's state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
2019 Grand Champions Fall Schedule

Polo Gear Challenge
Sunday 10/27
10 a.m. Polo Gear Challenge Final
 
Medium Goal:
Nov. 1-3, Fall Classic
Nov. 8-10, Fall Plates
Nov. 15-17, Pedro Morrison Memorial

High Goal:
Nov. 16-23, Wellington Open 20
Nov. 18-27, USPA National 20
Nov. 30, Legends of Polo and Carlos Gracida Memorial
Nov. 30, 2019 International Cup, USA vs. France

POLO GEAR 

Polo Gear, one of the sport's top sponsors and supporters of polo established in 1993 and
incorporated in Florida, manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide. For more information on Polo Gear and to order products, visit  www.pologearusa.com .

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. The mission is to help those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services.

THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


Chukker TV will live-streame the entire fall polo schedule. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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