Newport Captures Wellington Open

Newport Captures Wellington Open; Nic Roldan MVP; Horacio Heguy Honored With Living Legend Award
Newport made club history Friday capturing the first-ever Wellington Open at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By: Sharon Robb
Newport (Gene Goldstein, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Nic Roldan, 8) defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Horacio Heguy, 6, Juan Bollini, 5), 9-8. 
Roldan, the top-rated American player ranked at 8 goals, was named Most Valuable Player.

“We had a great lineup, that was a fun team,” Roldan said. “It was a team effort. Everybody played great. It was a good game.
“I think this tournament is going to grow,” Roldan said. “It’s a good tournament and nice it’s named after our hometown.”

Silva, a 6-year-old mare, owned and played by Spinacci, was selected Best Playing Pony.
In the tournament’s subsidiary game Just For The Joy Of It on a rain-soaked Sunday, Sebucan (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Pablo Pulido, 2, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Juan Bollini, 5) defeated Newport (Gene Goldstein, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Horatio Heguy, 6, Juancito Bollini, 4), 13-10.
Pulido, a Cornell alum whose 20-goal Sebucan team will play in Wednesday’s USPA National 20-Goal final against Audi, was named Amateur MVP.

Argentine Open six-time champion Horatio Heguy was given the Living Legend Award by
Grand Champions Polo Club during the post-game subsidiary awards.

Suspect, a 17-year-old mare played by Melissa Ganzi, owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm and purchased from Joey Casey, was Best Playing Pony.

In the Wellington Open final, the game was close from start to finish. Newport took a 2-1 lead in the opening chukker with goals from Goldstein and Roldan. Flexjet came right back with a 2-1 second chukker with goals from Spinacci and Ganzi for a 3-3 tie. The teams played a scoreless third chukker.

In the second half, Newport outscored Flexjet, 6-5, and led throughout the half. Newport shut out Flexjet, 2-0, in the fourth chukker followed by a 2-2 tie. In the sixth chukker, Goldstein scored with 1:13 left for a 9-7 lead. Spinacci scored in the final seconds to close the gap to one. 

“The key was moving the ball and being consistent,” Roldan said. “Gene scored some great goals especially one or two in the end that were important.”

Newport got balanced scoring from its lineup. Gene Goldstein scored a team-high three goals including what turned out to be the winning goal. Grant Ganzi, Bollini and Roldan each had two goals. “We had a fun team,” said Grant Ganzi. “Gene was playing well up front. He made some good passes and scored some key goals. Nic played amazing. We just played simple and open. We got it together in the second half and just played well. It’s so much easier when you play open, simple polo.”

For Flexjet, Melissa Ganzi scored a game-high four goals. Spinacci and Juan Bollin each had two goals. In the subsidiary game, both teams played well in the first half despite a steady rain.

Melissa Ganzi and Pulido shared team-high leading scorer honors each with five goals. Spinacci added three goals.

For Newport, Goldstein scored a game-high six goals. Heguy and Juancito Bollini each had two goals. 

The tournament was sponsored by Romeo Merino, a high-end clothing line of sweaters, cardigans, polos and scarves.

The winners of the first five 2019 tournaments at Grand Champions were: Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Pierre Henri Ngoumou), Pedro Morrison Memorial; Newport (Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini), Fall Plates Tournament; Sebucan (Santos Bollini, Pablo Pulido, Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen), Fall Classic; Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Spinacci, Juan Bollini), Tackeria Invitational; and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Jason Crowder), US Trust Cup. The Polo Gear Challenge final, postponed by rain, is yet to be played.

During the 2019 fall season, the nation’s largest and busiest polo club, hosts both medium and high goal polo, highlighted by the Nov. 30th International Cup featuring Team USA against France and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial.

The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa.

Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments.

The fall season serves as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world.

The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players.

The club takes pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend. Food and refreshments are available for players and fans after the finals.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater 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 at the turnkey facility.

The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA 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, a stand-alone USPA club, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099.

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