Daily Wrap-up: Puerto Rico Open, Round 4
February 12, 2014
By PGATOUR.COM wire reports
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico -- Scott Brown went from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot victory Sunday in the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com when he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole to beat Fabian Gomez and capture his first PGA TOUR title.
Brown closed with a 2-under 70 at Trump International, his final birdie set up with a 3-iron that he kept low to avoid palm trees that left himself a 30-yard pitch short of the green.
Brown picked up 300 FedExCup points with his victory, a two-year exemption on TOUR and spots in THE PLAYERS Championships and the PGA Championship.
Gomez, trying to become the first Argentine to win on TOUR since Angel Cabrera at the 2009 Masters, was in perfect position off the tee at the 18th. That's when it went all around.
His second shot left him a tough lie in the bunker, and he blasted that over the green and into another bunker. He missed a 15-foot par putt for a 71, and then had to watch as Brown rapped in the winning putt.
"I thought I would need an eagle as well as he was playing," Brown said. "So I just stayed aggressive."
Brown finished at 20-under 268 to set the tournament record. He became the fourth first-time TOUR winner this year, joining Russell Henley (Sony Open in Hawaii), John Merrick (Northern Trust Open) and Michael Thompson (The Honda Classic).
Late last year, Brown was on the putting green at Disney in the final event of the year, wondering if he would have to go through the second stage of q-school. He wound up at 148th on the money list for conditional status, which offered him limited starts on TOUR this year.
The Puerto Rico Open was one of them, and Brown made the most of it.
He had been planning on playing a full Web.com Tour schedule this year. Instead, he was headed to the Tampa Bay Championship presented by Everbank next week and can spend the rest of his season on the PGA TOUR, and start next season in Hawaii for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
"I was nervous over that last putt," Brown said. "A kid growing up in Augusta, this is a dream come true."
It was anything but that for Gomez, who earned his TOUR card at q-school a year ago.
"On that final hole I hit a good drive off the tee, but followed that with a poor 3-iron and it cost me big," Gomez said. "I had a very bad lie there and it was a difficult shot, and I was unable to pull it off. But that's golf. You never know what may happen."
Gomez tied for second with 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was playing on a sponsor exemption and now is exempt into the Tampa Bay Championship. Spieth shot a 67.
"It was cool to battle on the back nine there and know that I was close in the heat and to feel the pressure," Spieth said. "It was a first-time experience for me."
Justin Bolli (66) and Brian Stuard (68) were another shot behind.
Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein made eagle on the final hole for a 67 to tie for sixth, giving him a spot in Tampa Bay next week. Uihlein, who is playing the Challenge Tour in Europe, was coming off a tie for fourth in South Africa in a European Tour event.
Trump International: Round 4 Easiest hole Toughest hole
The par-5 18th was the easiest with a Sunday scoring average of 4.273.
Eagles: 4 | Birdies: 51 | Pars: 19 | Bogeys: 3 | Others: 0
The par-4 ninth was the toughest with a Sunday scoring average of 4.169.
Eagles: 0 | Birdies: 3 | Pars: 58 | Bogeys: 16 | Others: 0
About the winner: Scott Brown • Scott Brown broke or tied three tournament records this week. His 72-hole score (268) was one stroke better than Derek Lamely’s (2010). He set a new 54-hole score (199) along with Fabian Gomez. He carded a 63 (-9) in Round 2 to tie the tournament’s best 18-hole score with Derek Lamely (2010), Chris Tidland (2011) and James Driscoll (2011).
• Brown is the fourth first time winner on TOUR this season. Joining Russell Henley (Sony Open in Hawaii), John Merrick (Northern Trust Open) and Michael Thompson (The Honda Classic).
• Brown moves into the top 40 in the FedExCup standings.
• Brown led the field in total putting with 101 total putts.
• Brown earns fully-exempt status on the PGA TOUR through the 2015 season. If not otherwise eligible, he earns a spot in the following events in 2013: Arnold Palmer Invitational, RBC Heritage, THE PLAYERS Championship, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the Memorial Tournament, AT&T National and PGA Championship. He also earns a spot in the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
• A rookie last year on TOUR, Brown finished No. 148 on the PGA TOUR money list after making eight cuts in 24 starts with three top-10 finishes. A T5 at the Puerto Rico Open and at the True South Classic last year were his previous best career finishes on TOUR.
• Brown was recently inducted into the University of South Carolina-Aiken Athletic Hall of Fame, based on leading the Pacers to three consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships (2004-2006).