WELLINGTON, FL., May 25, 2016--In one of the most exciting games of the season, Audi rallied for a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over Melody to capture the Polo Gear Challenge Cup, one of the oldest spring tournaments in the nation, Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Teenager Timmy Dutta, at 14, the youngest player in the six-team tournament, scored the winning goal at the 7:08 mark of the seventh chukker.
"I told myself I got to do this, I got this," Dutta said. "I was going to take a nice tap and I said no, this is over and bang it went through the goal.
"It felt amazing, just a very good feeling," said Dutta, who scored a team-high four goals. "That was a good day in the office. I was very happy."
For his all-around play, Jason Crowder, 33, was named Most Valuable Player.
"I think Timmy was my MVP all day," Crowder said. "I just handed the whip off to him. He was the man. He took control when necessary under pressure and finished that goal off with confidence like I've never seen. He looked at it, started to take an easy swing and then reared back and just blasted it through the goal. That's exactly what I want out of somebody."
Audi (Timmy Dutta, Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Brandon Phillips) jumped on Melody early. Audi added to its three-goal handicap lead with five goals in the opening chukker for an 8-1 lead.
Early in the second chukker, Dutta's goal made it 9-1, for what looked to be an insurmountable lead for Melody (Cesar Gueikian, Kris Kampsen, JJ Celis, Lucas Lalor), making its season debut.
"That 9-1 start snakebit us," Dutta said. "It got us in that mindset that we were good and had it. And then Kampsen pulled something out that I have never seen before. He came and did something that I wasn't sure what happened and all of a sudden the game is tied."
Behind Kampsen, the team's playmaker, Melody mounted a remarkable rally. Melody shut out Audi, 3-0 in the third chukker to trail by four at the half, 9-5, and 3-0 in the fourth chukker to come within one goal, 9-8. After a 1-1 fifth chukker where Phillips' goal gave Audi a 10-9 advantage, Kampsen scored at 6:51 in the sixth chukker to tie the game at 10-10.
"We started out strong and they were slow in the beginning," Crowder said. "We knew that wasn't going to last forever. We knew it was going to slant back the other way. You never get that lucky for six chukkers."
For the remainder of the chukker, both teams had scoring opportunities from the field and penalty line. Kampsen, after a breakaway, just missed a goal with nine seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
"That was a false lead," Ganzi said. "They came out really slow. They were a little bit stunned. We knew that would not last long. They are three very good pros and Cesar knows how to hit the ball and how to play polo. It was just a matter of time and we all knew it."
Added Phillips, "We built a lead and just fell asleep. That's part of the game. We got lazy and stopped doing the little things and they started playing. We had all the right bounces in the first two chukkers and then we went weak and they started getting their game plan together. I expected them to come back but I didn't expect them to come back and tie it. We had to work a little harder at the end."
It was the second year in a row, Ganzi was on the winning Polo Gear Challenge Cup champion team. Last year he teamed with Travieso's Teo Calle, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Hector Guerrero.
Ganzi's 8-year-old horse Belgrano was named Best Playing Pony.
Crowder added two goals for Audi. Phillips and Ganzi each scored one. Kampsen led with a game-high six goals. Lalor had three goals and Celis added one.
Sonny Hill (Curtis Pilot, Francisco Bilbao, Francisco Lanusse, Gonzalo De la Fuente) defeated The Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Martin Estrada, Jared Zenni), 10-8, to win thesubsidiary game. Lanusse and Bilbao combined for ten goals.
In the consolation game, Flexjet (Santos Bollini, Juan Bollini, Tom de Bruin, Alejandro Poma) edged Casablanca (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano, Juancito Bollini), 9-8. Poma scored a game-high five goals.
In the second featured event of the day, the Polo School unveiled the "Skill of the Game," a unique, first-of-its kind tournament designed to highlight the various skills and talents required to be a polo player.
Crowder was overall winner and named Grand Champion. Kampsen was runner-up and Reserve Grand Champion.
In the final event of the day that offered prize money, Flexjet won the first grooms' race and ChukkerTV won the second grooms' race.
The events were part of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce Kickoff to the Summer. Mayor Anne Gerwig, who said she enjoys polo, threw out the ceremonial first polo ball to start the final.
Award-winning chef Shannon Atkins was the big hit of the day with his five-star menu. Atkins spent days in preparation to provide exquisite fare for the President's Circle Private VIP tent.
Polo Gear, one of the 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.
The 2016 spring season comes to a close this weekend with The Memorial Tournament. Action gets under way Friday with Flexjet playing Grand Champions at 11 a.m. and The Dutta Corp playing Postage Stamp Farm at 5 p.m. Action moves to the IPC Stadium Field on Sunday with the final at 1 p.m. and subsidiary Grand Champions Polo Cup at IPC at 3 p.m.
Five tournaments have now been played at the nine-year-old club.
In the spring season-opener Grand Champions Cup, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Sebastian Merlos, Kris Kampsen) defeated Power Horse (Walter Scherb, Michael Bickford, Tincho Merlos, Nic Roldan),18-17. Kampsen was named MVP.
Casablanca won its second spring tournament the second week of the season in the Spring Challenge Cup. The team of Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano and Kris Kampsen defeated Team NR (Tim Dutta, Melissa Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini), 10-8. Melissa Ganzi was named MVP.
The Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Tony Calle, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Brandon Phillips) won the Sun Cup with an 8-6 win over Newport (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano, Juancito Bollini). Calle was named MVP.
Casablanca won its third tournament of the season with Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Julio Arellano in the inaugural Power Horse Invitational with a 10-7 victory over Flexjet. Goldstein was named MVP.
During the Grand Champions' spring season, amateur polo players have the opportunity to play with and against some of the world's top professional polo players.
ChukkerTV is live streaming Grand Champions Polo Club games along with other games around the U.S. during the 2016 season with polo broadcasters Toby Wayman and Dale Schwetz calling the action.
Grand Champions Polo Club is the nation's busiest and most innovative polo club. The USPA-member club hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 20-goal in addition to special events.
The club also features The Polo School, dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB 2016 SPRING SCHEDULE
Friday-Sunday, The Memorial, Friday at Grand Champions, 11 a.m. Flexjet vs. Grand Champions; 5 p.m. The Dutta Corp vs. Postage Stamp Farm; Sunday at IPC Stadium Field, 1 p.m. Championship final, 3 p.m., The Grand Champions Polo Cup at IPC (subsidiary).
Monday, The Memorial Kidz Polo Tournament, 10 a.m.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org; hotline 561-373-0073.
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 that includes a complimentary Argentine asado by Cilantro's during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.