Grand Champions Pro Teams Audi, Flight Options Begin Ylvisaker Cup This Week

Audi's Nico Pieres will play in this Thursday's match against Las Monjitas. Photo by Scott Fisher.
Audi's Nico Pieres will play in this Thursday's match against Las Monjitas. Photo by Scott Fisher.

Wellington, FL - Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flight Options will compete in their second 20-goal tournament of the season when the Ylvisaker Cup gets under way on Thursday.

Audi (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres) opens play on Thursday against Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Geronimo Obregon, Eduardo Astrada, Alejandro Astrada) at 3 p.m.

Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Freddie Mannix, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) plays its first game on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres, Marcos Alberdi) in a rematch of Sunday's Bobby Barry Cup final.

The third 20-goal tournament of the season, named after William "Bill" Ylvisaker, features fourteen teams including defending champion Coca-Cola.

Last year's Coca-Cola team (Gillian Johnston, Tommy Collingwood, Julio Arellano, Sugar Erskine) defeated Audi (Marc Ganzi, Mariano Gracida, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres), 9-8 in overtime.

Ylvisaker was the founder of the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. An avid polo player rated as high as seven goals, Ylvisaker won three U.S. Open Championships, two Coronation Cups, the Gold Cup and earned several national and international honors.

Ylvisaker founded the Polo Training Foundation in 1967 to teach and help develop young polo players. He was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in Wellington on Feb. 6, 2010 at age 85.

Audi and Flight Options are coming off the Joe Barry Memorial Cup and Bobby Barry Cup tournaments. Audi was eliminated by Orchard Hill, 13-6, in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup. Flight Options lost to Orchard Hill, 12-10, in the Bobby Barry Cup final.

Flight Options, a first-year team, will try and avenge its loss to Orchard Hill.

"We take away from the Bobby Barry tournament that we are a good team, and that we can beat anybody on any day," said Flight Options coach Joey Casey said. "We will try and build off of that and get better."

Freddie Mannix will play for Flight Options in Saturday's game against Orchard Hill, Photo by Scott Fisher.
Freddie Mannix will play for Flight Options in Saturday's game against Orchard Hill, Photo by Scott Fisher.

Flight Options led Orchard Hill 10-9 in the sixth chukker until Orchard Hill rallied for three goals in the final five minutes behind Facundo. "We know we can beat them," said Freddie Mannix. "We could have won. Obviously, we can't let them take the knock-in and run down the field and score which they did three or four times."

Flight Options, one of the season's new polo team sponsors, is the world's second largest private aviation fleet that flies throughout the United States, Canada, northern Mexico, Cabo San Lucas and the Bahamas.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON
JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 23: Ylvisaker Cup-Thursday, Audi vs. Las Monjitas, 3 p.m.; Saturday, Flight Options vs. Orchard Hill, 1 p.m.; Feb. 6, Audi vs. CT Energia, 3 p.m.; Feb. 9, Flight Options vs. Villa del Lago/Casablanca, noon; Feb. 12, Audi vs. Los Machitos/Heathcote, 4 p.m.; Feb. 13, Flight Options vs. Lechuza Caracas, 1 p.m.; Feb 16, Quarterfinals; Feb. 19, Semifinals; Feb. 23, Finals.
FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup
FEBRUARY 14: National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup
MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup
MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships

GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)
JANUARY: Metropolitan Cup (5 goals); Aspen Valley Cup (8 goals); The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series; Friday Night Under The Lights Arena Polo.
FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy; Friday Night Under The Lights Arena Polo.
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5 goals); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; USPA Regional President's Cup (8 goals); $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals).
APRIL: Las Acacias (5 goals); USPA Association Cup (8 goals); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goals); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16 goals).

THIS WEEK'S GRAND CHAMPIONS@PB POLO GAMES
Wednesday, semifinals 12-goal, Game 1, 11:30 a.m., field 8, Palm Beach Equine/La Herradura vs. Las Monjitas; Game 2, 3:30 p.m., field 2, Goose Creek vs. Casablanca; 8-goal, 3:30 p.m., Polo West, Tonchala vs. Tuffrider.
Thursday, Aspen Valley 8-goal finals, KIG vs. La Casa Hermosa, Polo West, 2 p.m.; 12-goal, Far Niente vs. Pony Express, 3:30 p.m., at Pony Express; 5 goals, 4:30 p.m., Santa Clara vs. Grand Champions at Santa Clara.
Friday, 11 a.m. at Cypress, 12 goals handicap semifinals, Hawk Hill vs. KIG.
Saturday, 10 a.m., field 10, Elegante vs.TBA, Metropolitan 5 goal Cup, 11:30 a.m. handicap finals; 1 p.m., field 8, Limited Edition 12-goal, winner of Game 3 vs. Game 4; 3 p.m., at Grand Champions, 12-goal Limited Edition finals, winner of Game 1 vs. winner of Game 2.
Sunday, noon at Cypress, handicap final of 8-goals Aspen Valley Cup, Grand Champions vs. TBA.

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)
MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.
MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament
APRIL 3-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament
APRIL 8-12: Women's Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.

INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Flight Options. Everyone is welcome to watch high, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, ProKidz Tournaments in the spring and fall, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.




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