Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira’s name has floated to the top of several amateur events in 2020. When the spotlight shines on Argentinian amateurs – as it has this year everywhere from the South American Amateur to the Latin American Amateur to the U.S. Amateur – Fernandez de Oliveira is often a reason why.
An eleventh-hour bogey nearly cost Fernandez de Oliveira the Azalea Amateur title on Sunday at the Country Club of Charleston (South Carolina), but the TCU sophomore redeemed himself in a short playoff with Jamie Wilson to win the title instead. When Fernandez de Oliveira made par on the first extra hole, the title was his.
That part of the story is new. Fernandez de Oliveira was runner-up at the South American Amateur to start the year and most recently played his way to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur. But a trophy? That part was missing.
The Azalea Amateur typically falls early in the spring, before the Masters. It was postponed from its March dates to this past week, and still served as a tune-up for the Masters.
Scores: Azalea Amateur
Fernandez de Oliveira fired rounds of 71-69-66-71. Wilson caught him with a closing round of 69 that included a birdie on the final hole.
South Carolina junior Ryan Hall and former Clemson All-American Stephen Behr tied for third at 5 under.
Among the three Masters invitees in the field were Lukas Michel, 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur champ; Yuxin Lin, 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur champ; and Abel Gallegos, 2020 Latin America Amateur champion. Lin finished the best out of the three with a tie for eighth at 3 under.
U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci was another shot back in a three-way tie for 12th.
Gallegos is a fellow Argentinian player. Fernandez de Oliveira finished T-19 at the LAAC in January, one of six players inside the top 20.
Fernandez de Oliveira was among four players from Argentina to reach match play at the U.S. Amateur in August. He and Segundo Oliva Pinto advanced the furthest, to the third round.
So far this fall, Fernandez de Oliveira has made just one start with TCU, finishing 42nd at the Colonial Collegiate Invite. But the top spot at the Azalea Amateur, with a field of amateur golf’s best, is something special.