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Derek Rende wins Lexus Panama Classic

Derek Rende finished the Lexus Panama Classic with 69 strokes, three under par Sunday in the final round, to preserve the one-shot lead and win the title of champion Lexus Panama Classic, the second event of the 2016 Latin America PGA Tour season held at Buenaventura Golf Club, located in Rio Hato (Coclé).

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With his victory with cumulative total of 276 strokes (69-71-67-69) at the end of the four rounds, Rende added his name to the Argentine Julian Etulian, who won in 2014 with 271 impacts, and the Mexican Rodolfo Cazaubon, winner last year with 276.

“I had not won a golf tournament in a few years and it feels wonderful,” said American golfer, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee who turned 30 ten days ago. “I played very even all day and hit the ball very well. I did not put in very difficult positions and holed two very important putts on the last two holes.”

The final day started with nothing definite, having had three different leaders in previous rounds, and a group of about 10 players in the running. A putt of about two meters for par on the 72nd hole to make a 69 secured the win. “The flag on the 18th was difficult and with the wind blowing hard from left to right, not many would have a chance to make birdie. I had a feeling he only had to do and luckily couple holed a nice putt.”

Once accomplished his victory, the first person with whom Rende was celebrated with his wife, the golf professional Brooke Pancake, which gave him a kiss that was celebrated and applauded by the audience. “It was amazing to have her here for this victory, the truth can not imagine a better scenario,” he said the champion last year paused six months in his own career to be his wife caddy on the LPGA Tour.

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