Five Things: Colombians excel at home event

Andres Echavarria during the 2011 Gator Invitational.

Andres Echavarria during the 2011 Gator Invitational.

There’s plenty of professional golf played outside the PGA Tour. This Five Things, which will appear after each Nationwide Tour event, is here to tell you about golf’s up-and-comers and those excelling away from the PGA Tour’s spotlight. A couple minutes here is a solid investment if you want to become the smartest member of your foursome.

• Good showing for South America: The Nationwide Tour’s Bogota Open is the only PGA Tour-sanctioned event in South America. Three Colombians had top-25 finishes in their home country, earning them another start on tour. David Vanegas led the group with a third-place finish. Manuel Villegas, Camilo’s younger brother, and amateur Andres Echavarria finished 19th. Echavarria, who plays for the University of Florida, is No. 21 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.

Argentina’s Julian Etulain, last year’s winner of the Tour de las Americas Order of Merit, also finished third. Etulain and Villegas will play this week in another event showcasing Latin America’s finest, the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.

• Compton’s quest continues: One week after finishing fourth, Erik Compton tied for 19th in the Bogota Open, earning himself another start at the next Nationwide Tour event: the Louisiana Open March 24-27. Compton is sixth on the tour’s money list; the top 25 at season’s end earn PGA Tour cards. He’s playing this week in the Puerto Rico Open.

• Short stuff: Because the Bogota Open was shortened to 36 holes, Brenden Pappas’ victory will be considered unofficial, but the money is official. Pappas birdied his 36th hole to win by one stroke over Matt Every. Every, a former Ben Hogan Award winner at Florida, still has five starts remaining in a PGA Tour medical extension for a broken finger (he needs about $310,000 to retain his Tour card). His finish in Bogota ensures he’ll have good Nationwide Tour status should he fail to retain his Tour card. Every, the 2010 Nationwide Tour Championship winner, also was reportedly suspended for three months last season after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession during the John Deere Classic.

• Like father, like son: Say hello to El Pato and El Patito. Angel Cabrera and his son, Federico, will tee it up at this week’s Puerto Rico Open. The elder Cabrera, a two-time major champion, has struggled this season, missing two of four cuts and finishing no better than 49th. Federico, 21, finished fifth at last week’s Chile Open, the season-opening event on the Tour de las Americas.

Benjamin Alvarado, a former Arizona State All-American, won the Chile Open by eight shots for his first TLA victory. Alvarado, 25, is from Santiago, Chile. Tomas Cocha, 19, finished fifth in Chile, one week after Monday qualifying for the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

• Mini-tour matters: The mystery of Ted Potter continues. Potter won the Hooters Tour’s season-opening Killearn Country Club Classic by seven shots. Going back to the Hooters Tour’s Winter Series, Potter has gone 1-1-5-1 in his past four starts. He’s earned more than $500,000 in his Hooters Tour career. That’s in stark contrast to his performance on the Nationwide Tour, though. In 55 Nationwide Tour starts over three seasons, he’s earned just $34,896.

The eGolf Professional Tour began the first of two consecutive events in Morocco on Sunday. Mikel Martinson took the first-round lead with a 62. The eGolf tour is the first American tour to conduct multiple stroke-play events in Africa.

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