Andersen Wins Visa Argentina Open in Playoff; Holmgren Ties for 5th

March 3, 2024 | 8 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

BUENOS  AIRES PROVINCE, Argentina -- "Winning is just so hard in golf," Mason Andersen said on Sunday after the conclusion of the 117 Visa Argentina Open. "You never win; you never win; and you come close a bunch of times, but winning is just so hard."

Andersen had just won the tournament, but his victory -- thanks to a birdie on the second hole of a playoff against Kris Ventura -- pretty much proved what he was saying. It was definitely a hard-won victory. 

The 24-year-old first-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour shot 64-67-69--200 (10 under par) during the first three rounds at Olivos Golf Club, and all that did was get him sort of in contention. He didn't look like a serious contender going into final round, and he wasn't even in the top 10, but instead, six shots behind, tied for 11th place. 

Things got worse, not better, as he played the first six holes on Sunday -- and bogeyed two of them. Then he went nuts. Andersen ran off three consecutive birdies at 7, 8 and 9 to finish off the front nine, and after parring the 10th, he birdied the par-5 11th (557 yards), the par-4 12th (430), the par-3 13th (168), the par-4 14th  (436) and the formidable, 485-yard, par-4 15th.

For anyone who might have lost count, that was his fifth birdie an a row -- and his eighth in nine holes. 

After that, his pars at the 16th and 17th holes seemed almost like a slump, but he capped off the round with a birdie at the18th for a 63, and a 72-hole total of 263, 17 under par. 

As impressive as that was, he still had to dodge a few bullets as he waited for more than an hour and a half for the 54-hole leaders to finish. Dalton Ward, who started the day tied for third, birdied the 12th hole and got to 15 under with six holes to go. But he could manage only one birdie the rest of the way, at the 18th, and he signed for a 68. Brian Campbell eagled the 18th hole for a 67, but he, too, came up one stroke short and tied Ward at 264. 

The two more serious threats to Andersen's chances for a victory came from 54-hole leader Van Holmgren, the former Minnesota state high school and State Amateur champion who turned professional in the fall of 2021 and won the State Open the following summer, and Ventura, a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour. 

Holmgren made five bogeys in the first three rounds while shooting scores of 67, 63 and 64, but he bogeyed two of the first three holes Sunday, and he made his third and fourth bogeys of the day on the 10th and 12th holes. Nevertheless, his birdie at the 168-yard, par-3 13th got him back to 1 over for the day, and only two strokes behind Andersen. Another birdie three holes later, at the 441-yard, par-4 16th, got the 24-year-old former Florida University Gulf Coast star to within one of Anderson. 

In each of his first three rounds, Holmgren had played the last two holes in 1 under. In Friday's second round, he birdied the 210-yard 17th. In both the first and third rounds, he birdied the 503-yard, par-5 18th. But fourth rounds aren't the same as the first three rounds, and on Sunday Holmgren played the last two holes in 1 over, with a bogey at the 17th and a par at the 18th.

That gave him a 71 and dropped him into a five-way tie for fifth at 265. It wasn't what he was hoping for, but it was worth $32,500, and it lifted him into a tie for 43rd place on the 2024 Korn Ferry money list. (He missed the cut in the only tournament he had played before Argentina.) After a tie for 72nd place in the PGA Tour/Korn Ferry Q-School Final Stage last year, his status on the 2024 Korn Ferry is limited, but his top-10 finish in this tournament will help him to get into more events. 

In the end, it was Ventura who had the best chance to rip the victory from the hands of Andersen. The 29-year-old Ventura played on Oklahoma State's NCAA championship team in 2018, and won the Big 12 individual championship that year. Viktor Hovland  and Matthew Wolff were his teammates. So was Brendon Jelley, who finished in a tie for fifth in the Argentina Open on Sunday (67-63-67-678--265) -- and also Austin, who won the PGA Tour event that ended on Monday, the Cognizant Classic. It was quite the week for Cowboys alums from that 2018 national championship team.

As for Ventura, he is nothing if not tough. In the fall of 2018, just before the Final Stage of Korn Ferry Q-School, he had to have an emergency appendectomy. Despite not being able to make a full swing, he played in the Q-School Final anyway. Not surprisingly, he finished near the bottom of the standings, which gave him minimal status for the following year. But that didn't prevent him from winning twice in  2019 -- the Utah Bank Championship and the Pinnacle Bank Championship -- and he graduated to the PGA Tour in 2020.

He made 10 cuts in 29 events during the 2020-21  PGA Tour season, and although he had two top-10 finishes, he finished out of the top 150 on the money list ($547,615), and that sent him back to the Korn Ferry. 

On Sunday, he probably should have won. Having started the day in second place, one shot behind Holmgren, he didn't do all that much on the front nine, only one birdie at the third hole. But his birdie at the par-5 11th got him to 17 under -- and tied for first with Andersen. A bogey at the 14th dropped him one behind, but he pulled even with Andersen again when he birdied the 16th. 

After making a par at the 17th, Ventura knocked his second shot onto the green at the par-5 18th, which played the easiest, relative to par, of any hole at Olivos during the week. He could have claimed his third Korn Ferry victory by simply two-putting for biride from 30 feet, but winning tournaments isn't all that simple, as Andersen would be saying a few minutes later, and after running his eagle putt 4 feet past the cup, Ventura lipped out his birdie putt.    

So it was on to a playoff, which would be contested on the 503-yard 18th hole until it was over. Both players made two-putt birdies on the first exra hole -- which had to leave Ventura wondering why he couldn't have done that a few minutes earlier at the end of his regulation round -- and both players hit good drives on the second hole of overtime. Then it got a little ugly. Andersen lost his second shot to the right, but got a lucky bounce off the the scoreboard and ended up in the rough not far from the green.

Ventura hit his second shot into the front greenside bunker.

Andersen chipped his third shot to within 3 feet of the cup, but Ventura's bunker shot went over the green, and he missed the green again with his chip shot from there. He salvaged his par by chipping in on his next shot. That was good only for a par, however, and Andersen settled the matter by making his 3-footer for a birdie.  

It was a lot of work -- and stress -- and he needed a little luck, too, but the victory was worth $180,000 to Andersen, and elevated him to No. 1 on the money list, with $233,483. The top 30 players on the Korn Ferry points list (basically the same as the money list) at the end of the year will move up to the PGA Tour for the 2025 season. 

117 Visa Argentina Open presented by Marco

At Olivos Golf Club

Par 70, 6,795 yards

Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Final results 

1. Mason Andersen            $180,000        64-67-69-63--263 (-17) won playoff on second hole -- No 18, 503yards, par 5 -- with a birdie

2. Kris Ventura                     $90,000         66-65-64-68--263

T3. Brian Campbell              $52,500          64-67-66-67--264

T3. Dalton Ward                   $52,500          68-64-64-68--264

T5. Van Holmgren              $32,300           67-63-64-71--265

T5. Martin Trainer                $32,300           66-68-65-66--265

T5. KK Limbhasut                $32,300           66-63-70-66--265

T5. Will Bateman                 $32,300           67-66-66-66--265

T5. Brendon Jelley               $32,300           67-63-67-68--265

What it took to make the cut  -- 136

Thomas Longbella                                        69-70--139

Frankie Capan                                               72-70--142


Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website,, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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