Tour alum Nico Echavarría wins Puerto Rico Open
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Written by PGATOUR Latinoamérica @PGATOUR_LA
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – Making just the eleventh start of his rookie season, Colombia’s Nico Echavarría became a PGA TOUR champion at the 2023 Puerto Rico Open Sunday. Holding a two-shot lead through 54 holes, the 28-year old PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alum carded a 4-under 68 for a two-shot win. He tied the tournament record by finishing the week at 21-under 267.
“I’m happy with life right now,” Echavarría said. “After missing four cuts in a row, only making two cuts, you just doubt yourself. I’m very grateful I just kept pushing and got it done.”
The 28-yer old from Medellín became the third Colombian to win on the PGA TOUR, joining Sebastián Muñoz and Camilo Villegas. He also became the tenth PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alum to win on the PGA TOUR.
Villegas, a mentor of Echavarría who was also playing this event, finished some two hours earlier and stuck around to celebrate with his fellow countryman. Villegas had sent him a voice message on Saturday, when Echavarría claimed the lead, telling him there would be a time Sunday when he will feel the tournament slipping away.
That came on the sixth hole, where Echavarría escaped with a bogey when it could have been worse. He birdied the seventh, bogeyed the next hole and didn't make a mistake the rest of the way.
“I was able to keep it together in a stressful moment,” Echavarría said. “I'm grateful he mentored me in that way.”
The victory gets him into THE PLAYERS Championship, with its $25 million purse next week at TPC Sawgrass. He also earned a spot in the PGA Championship and has a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
“I take a lot from this week. Obviously my first win on the PGA TOUR. Very happy, very happy with Puerto Rico, it's awesome. First time here and we go out with a win. So, I'm super pumped with how my golf game evolved and how it's going to help for the rest of the year,” said the latest PGA TOUR winner.
Nico Echavarría’s career timeline:
Played college golf at the University of Arkansas.
In December of 2016, still an amateur, he earned full status on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with a tie for third finish at the Dev Series Final’s Malinalco Classic in Mexico.
Claimed runner-up honors while making his professional debut at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s 2017 season-opening Colombia Open. The event was played at Club Guaymaral in Bogota, Colombia in February of 2017. Finished his first pro season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica ranked 27th in the Order of Merit.
In 2018, his second and last full season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, he finished second in the Order of Merit after an outstanding season that saw him card his first two professional victories in a three-week stretch at the Sao Paulo Golf Club Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil and at the San Luis Championship in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Three more top-25 finishes over three starts after his victories pushed him to the top spot in the Order of Merit, but he ultimately finished second to Harry Higgs after finishing T45 at the Shell Championship, losing the No. 1 position by a mere $64 dollars.
Played three full seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, making 90 starts between 2019 and 2022. Closed the 2022 season earning his first PGA TOUR card via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, solidifying it with a T5 at the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance to finish No. 20 on the Korn Ferry Tour Finals Eligibility Points List.
His 2023 Puerto Rico Open victory was his third cut made in 11 starts as a PGA TOUR rookie. As a PGA TOUR winner he becomes fully exempt through the 2024-25 season.