Rio 2016: Fabian Gomez boosts Argentina's Olympic hopes

    Fabian Gomez won his second PGA Tour title at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

    Story highlights

    • Argentine golfer Fabian Gomez wins Sony Open
    • Fourth Argentine to win multiple PGA Tour titles
    • He also won last season at St. Jude Classic

    (CNN)South American golf has received a timely boost ahead of the sport's long-awaited second Olympic outing at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    With victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Argentina's Fabian Gomez leaped from 112th in the world ranking to 55th and put himself in a commanding position to represent his country in Brazil.
      "I'm really, really happy," he told reporters following his playoff win over American Brandt Snedeker. "I felt good all week long and was able to put on a great round."
      The men's and women's tournaments in Rio will both have 60 competitors, with the world's top 15 players from each gender qualifying -- limited to four golfers per country. The rest of the places will go to highest-ranked players from nations which do not have two qualifiers already.
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      It may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for today's professionals -- the last time the sport was at an Olympic Games was in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904.
      "I'm really excited about being able to get in the Olympics," Gomez said. "My main goal, I work hard to be able to win, but I know that by winning I will be able to reach that."
      Gomez is the second-highest ranked Argentine, with Emiliano Grillo -- who won his first PGA Tour title in October 2015 -- ahead of him in 32nd, while two-time major winner Angel Cabrera is third back in 227th.
      Gomez dragged himself into contention for the Sony Open title with a final-round 62 -- a joint tournament record -- in which he shot seven birdies in a row and 10 in total, to climb four places and force a playoff. He birdied the second extra hole to deny 24th-ranked Snedeker his eighth PGA Tour success.
      Following his win at last season's FedEx St. Jude Classic, the Sony Open triumph was the second of Gomez's PGA Tour career, making him only the fourth Argentine to win more than once on the U.S. circuit.
      Cabrera has three titles, including the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters, while Jose Coceres won twice in 2001.
      Roberto De Vicenzo is Argentina's most successful golfer, with nine PGA Tour victories among his 200-plus worldwide titles, including the 1967 British Open -- though he is most famous for signing the wrong scorecard at the following year's Masters, ruling himself out of a playoff.
      Despite hitting back-to-back bogeys on holes 13 and 14, Gomez always believed in his ability to turn his afternoon around on Sunday.
      "I never actually had a doubt about it, about myself or my swing," he explained. "I knew I needed to make birdies coming in. I knew it was going to be really low to get it done, and I sort of let that go away and kept going."