March Madness Is Under Way At Grand Champions Polo Club; $50,000 National 12-Goal Begins Saturday

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WELLINGTON, Fl., March 15, 2019---The busiest winter polo season in the history of Grand Champions Polo Club continues Saturday with the opening game of the sixth annual $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament.

The opening game features Audi/Sonny Hill against Beverly Equestrian Saturday at 10 a.m. at White Birch Field.

The popular tournament and nation's only 12-goal tournament that offers major prize money, features six competitive teams with no clear-cut favorite.

The teams in Bracket A are:

Audi/Sonny Hill: Gonzalo De La Fuente, 2, Alfonso Pieres, 4, Tomas Garbarini, 5, Juanse Olivera, 1.

Beverly Equestrian: Bill Ballhaus, 0, Geronimo Obregon, 4, Tolito Ocampo, 5, Hilario Figueras, 3.

Dutta Corp: Timmy Dutta, 2, Robi Bilbao, 4, Piki Diaz Alberdi, 6, Tim Dutta, 0.

The teams in Bracket B are:

Team USPA: Tony Calle, 3, Nick Johnson, 3, Wes Finlayson, 4, Agustin Arellano, 2.

WPL: Santos Bollini, 1, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Mariano Gracida, 4, Jason Waites, 4.

La Dolfina: Poroto Cambiaso, 3, Segundo Merlos, 2, Santos Merlos, 0, Juan Martin Zubia, 7.

The quarterfinal games are Saturday (10 a.m., Audi/Sonny Hill vs. Beverly Equestrian at White Birch Field) and Monday (La Dolfina vs. WPL) at a site and time to be determined.

The semifinals, with dates and times still to be determined, will feature Team USPA vs. the La Dolfina-WPL winner and Dutta Corp against the Audi/Sonny Hill-Beverly Equestrian winner.

GSA became the first team in the tournament's history to win back-to-back titles last year. After a close first half, GSA (Henry Porter, 2, Santino Magrini, 3, Toro Ruiz, 5, Nachi Viana 2) dominated Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, 0, Hilario Figueras, 2, Tolito Ocampo, 4, Carlucho Arellano, 5) for an impressive 12-5 victory. In 2017, the team of Porter, Magrini, Ruiz and Juan Martin Zubia defeated Casablanca (Matias Gonzalez, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Jesse Bray), 13-6. 

GSA remains the youngest team in history to win the eight-team, single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament. The 2018 team age average was 18. The team will not return to defend its title since the players are now older and playing high goal including Zubia in the inaugural 26-goal World Polo League for undefeated Colorado.

Three other leagues are competing this month: Top Pony 12-Goal, Limited Edition 8-Goal and Madelon Bourdieu Memorial 6-Goal.

Six teams will compete in the Top Pony 12-Goal tournament. They are:

Beverly Equestrian: Bill Ballhaus, 0, Geronimo Obregon, 4, Tolito Ocampo, 5, Hilario Figueras, 3.

Igea: Adam Upson, Johnny Redlich, TBA, TBA.

Newport: Gene Goldstein, 1, Segundo Merlos, 2, Tony Calle, 3, Michel Dorignac, 6.

Sebucan: Oliver Firestone, 0, Pablo Pulido, 2, Wes Finalyson, 4, Mariano Obregon, 6.

Valiente: Pamela Flanagan, 0, Poroto Cambiaso, 3, Robertito Zedda, 4, Santi Wulff, 5.

WPL: Gussie Busch, 1, Nico Harriott, 1, Lucas Lalor, 5, Juan Bollini, 5.

Four teams will compete in the Limited Edition 8-Goal Series tournament. They are:

Dutta Corp: Timmy Dutta, 2, Juanse Olivera, 1, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 5, Tim Dutta, 0.

Patagones: Santiago Avendano, 1, Joaquin Avendano, 2, Benjamin Avendano, 3, Mateo Vallejos, 2.

Smithfield: Craig Callen, 0, Robi Bilbao, 4, Julio Ezcurra, 3, John Klopp, 0.

WPL: Santos Bollini, 1, Nico Harriott, 1, Gussie Busch, 1, Juan Bollini, 5. 

Four teams will compete in the Madelon Memorial Bourdieu 6-Goal tournament, named after Polo School Director Juan Bollini's mother. The teams are:

CrossFit El Cid: Misty Allen, -1, Cecelia Cochran, 1, Mikey Matz, 3, Jason Waites, 3.

Dragonfly: Andy Hertneky, 0, Juan Ghirlanda, Alfredo Guerreno, Travor Steele.

Mayer Ranch/Willow Farm: Kenny Mayer, 0, Mike Egan, 0, Brendan Stenzel, 2, Wes Finlayson, 4.

Salamander/Pony Express: Landen Daniels, Agustin Mauhum, Justin Daniels, Tom Gorman.

The Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match kicked off the month's full schedule of polo at Grand Champions highlighted by the 26-goal World Polo League, $50,000 National 12-Goal, John T. Oxley Memorial, $100,000 World Cup (0-40) and Women's Weekly League. The World Cup Draw is Friday at 1 p.m. at Santa Rita.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, is hosting 24 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, WCT Finals and women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions, Valiente Polo Farm and several other fields in the area.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. 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, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo 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 June and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.