GREENWICH, Ct., August 25, 2016---Audi, with a new-look lineup, will open its’ title defense Sunday at the historic USPA East Coast Open 20-Goal Polo Championship Tournament.
Some of the world’s top players will compete at Greenwich Polo Club for the chance to have their names on the Perry Trophy, a coveted symbol of the tournament since 1905.
Audi will unveil its’ new lineup of Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Sebastian Merlos and Leo Mandelbaum on Sunday at 10 a.m. when it opens against Airstream.
Last year the team of Ganzi, Roldan, Juancito Bollini and MVP Miguel Novillo Astrada won the ECO title with a thrilling 14-13 overtime upset of favorite and host team White Birch in front of an overflow crowd of 4,000 and worldwide ChukkerTV audience.
Last season Audi was 3-1 in the three-week tournament, losing to White Birch, 13-9, in bracket play. White Birch was undefeated (4-0) and looking to extend its dominance in the historic tournament where its first polo match was played in New York City 125 years ago.
Mandelbaum, a top amateur 2-goal player at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., will make his ECO debut along with Argentine 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos.
All four Audi players and their horses trained in high altitude at the Aspen Valley Polo Club during a successful summer season.
Audi will be joined by seven other teams in the field, two more teams than last year’s field. They are Airstream, Beluga, Faraway Farm, Goose Creek, Postage Stamp Farm, Tupungato and White Birch.
Tournament action begins on Saturday with two games. Goose Creek plays Beluga at 11 a.m. and Faraway takes on White Birch at 4 p.m.
The player rosters are:
Airstream (20): Agustin Bottaro, 0, Guille Aguero, 6, Matias Magrini, 8, Kris Kampsen, 6.
Audi (20): Marc Ganzi, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, Sebastian Merlos, 9, Leo Mandelbaum, 2.
Beluga (17): Chris Brant, A, Nick Manifold, 5, Fran Elizalde, 7, Tommy Biddle, 5.
Faraway (19-20): Hutton Goodman, A/Bo Goodman, 1; Inaki Laprida, 7, Julian Daniels, 6, Pelon Escapite 6.
Goose Creek (20): Maureen Brennan, 1, Marcos Garcia del Rio, 4, Tomas Garcia del Rio, 8, Mariano Gonzalez, 7.
Postage Stamp Farm (19): Annabelle Gundlach, A, Salva Ulloa, 7, Brandon Phillips, 5, Joao Paulo Ganon.
Tupungato (19): Luis Rinaldini, A, Santi Torres, 7, Naco Taverna, 6, Gaston Lisioli, 6.
White Birch (20): Santino Magrini, 1, Hilario Ulloa, 9, Mariano Aguerre, 9, Peter Brant, 1.
Teams in Bracket One are Postage Stamp Farm, Airstream, Audi and Tupungato. Bracket Two teams are Goose Creek, Faraway, Beluga and White Birch.
This year’s tournament will feature two women players, veteran Maureen Brennan, a pioneer in women’s polo, and Annabelle Gundlach, a horsewoman competing in only her second year of polo.
Audi of America and its 29 Tri-State Audi dealers is presenting sponsor. Audi and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury cars. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi broke all-time company sales records for the sixth straight year in the U.S.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National will have a pop-up bar on the polo grounds for the first time.
For the second consecutive year, ChukkerTV will live stream every preliminary, semifinal and final game, a first in USPA polo history.
ChukkerTV, an independent media company based in Wellington, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology in January 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. One of the biggest highlights for polo players is the use of technology in live streaming, instant replays and team reviews.
NBC Sports Network will air a 60-minute tapedbroadcast on Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. with drone aerials and instant replays for team challenges also provided by ChukkerTV.
Nestled in the back country, Greenwich Polo Club was founded by Brant in 1981. It is the home of White Birch, one of the most successful teams in history over 25 years including 2005 U.S. Open champion.
The East Coast Open began in 1905 in Rhode Island and was played until World War I. It was resurrected in 1978 by former USPA President Donald Little at the Myopia Polo Club in South Hamilton, Mass. White Birch padron Peter Brant started hosting the tournament in the early 2000’s at Greenwich Polo Club.
The United States Polo Association®, founded in 1890, was organized and exists for the purpose of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
2016 EAST COAST OPEN SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, AUG. 27: 11 a.m., Goose Creek vs. Beluga; 4 p.m., Faraway vs. White Birch.
SUNDAY, AUG. 28: 10 a.m., Audi vs. Airstream; 3 p.m., Tupungato vs. Postage Stamp Farm.
TUESDAY, AUG. 30: 4 p.m., White Birch vs. Goose Creek.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31: 10 a.m., Audi vs. Tupungato; 5 p.m., Airstream vs. Postage Stamp Farm.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 1: TBD, Faraway vs. Beluga.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 3: 10 a.m., Beluga vs. White Birch; 4 p.m., Airstream vs. Tupungato.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 4: 3 p.m., Goose Creek vs. Faraway and Audi vs. Postage Stamp Farm.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 6: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Semifinal Game 1.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 7: TBD, ECO Semifinal Game 1, ECO Semifinal Game 2.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 8: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Semifinal Game 2.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 10: TBD, Tommy B. Glynn Final; 4 p.m., Governor’s Cup.
SUNDAY, Sept. 11: 3 p.m., ECO Finals.