U.S. Open Women’s Championship Begins Tuesday At Houston Polo Club; Melissa Ganzi Among Elite Field
By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
Melissa Ganzi, coming off Saturday’s victory in the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championship, will compete in her second major tournament in two weeks when the U.S. Open Women’s Championship begins Tuesday at Houston Polo Club.
The Grand Champions Polo Club president will compete in one of the nation’s most prestigious tournaments for San Saba along with teammates 9-goaler and WCT founder Sunny Hale, 7-goaler Clarissa Echezarreta and Dawn Jones.
The six-day tournament, part of the WCT’s 12th season, is presented by Ker & Downey and LandRover Houston Central.
It is the biggest women’s tournament in the world and features the highest rated female players including 8-goaler Lia Salvo, one of Argentina’s rising stars who is spearheading the Spanish version of the WCT.
Salvo recently made history competing alongside polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martin Nero and Pablo MacDonough for El Paso Polo Ranch La Dolfina winning the Jockey Club Open. She is the first woman to win a high goal tournament in Argentina.
San Saba, a 25-goal rated team, plays Rocking P Lockton the third game in opening round action at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. In early games, La Mariposa USA plays Land Rover at 11 a.m. and BTA plays Plank Companies at 2 p.m.
Action continues on Thursday to determine Friday’s semifinalists. The consolation and final games are Sunday at 2 p.m. at HPC Farish Field.
The other five 20-26 goal teams in the Open division are:
BTA: Chrys Beal, 4, KC Krueger, 7, Sol Lopez Llames, 4T, Lia Salvo, 8.
La Mariposa USA: Anja Jacobs, 2, Jolie Liston, 5, Claire Brougham, 6, Mumy Bellande, 7T.
Land Rover: Lauren Biddle, 4, Tiamo Hudspeth, 4, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, 6, Clara Cassino
Plank Companies: Kendall Plank, 3, Dayelle Fargey, 7, Caroline Anier, 7, Ina Lalor, 6T.
Rocking P Lockton: Courtney Price/Athena Malin, 2/3, Sarah Wiseman, 7, Hazel Jackson, 8, Kristy Outhier, 8.
The six-team USPA Women’s Handicap (10-14) tournament will be held Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the final at 4 p.m.
The tournament is hosting more than 75 players in four levels of play. The Farish Cup Invitational (4-6 goal), Bayou Cup and WCT Junior Invitational will also be held at the Houston Polo Club this week.
Ganzi, in the midst of competing in the fall season at Grand Champions, is coming off the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. Her Aspen Valley Polo Club team with teammates Nic Roldan and Juancito Bollini defended its’ title with a 7-5 victory over Palm Beach Polo.
Grand Champions annually hosts the WCT Championships in April, the week of the U.S. Open.
The WCT was created in 2005 to bring together women’s polo players around the world with one mission: new friendships, good polo and shared passion. To learn more about the league go to www.wctwomenspolo.com.
Grand Champions, with eleven well-manicured fields, is enjoying its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
The club has hosted seven successful fall tournaments. Ganzi’s Flexjet team has won two medium goal tournaments and appeared in five championship finals.
The final fall medium goal tournament is this weekend’s Polo Gear Challenge followed by the 20-goal season.
Grand Champions is the only club in the nation to stage USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments in the fall. The club is hosting the USPA National 20-Goal and USPA North American Cup.
In addition to the 20-goal tournaments, the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and fifth annual International Cup featuring Team USA against Uruguay.
Grand Champions caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. 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, the only polo club in the
U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is 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.