The First Look: Puerto Rico Open
February 16, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Martin Trainer wins at Puerto Rico
The event in Puerto Rico was made a team fundraiser in 2018 to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria, but the Puerto Rico Open returned in full for 2019 with Martin Trainer emerging victorious by three shots.
Trainer will return to defend his title in 2020 alongside many of the game’s up-and-coming stars and world No. 51 Ian Poulter.
RELATED: Inside The Field
FIELD NOTES: The PGA TOUR’s alternate-field events will feature 120 players in the 2019-20 season. Brendon Todd won the first alternate-field event of the season, the Bermuda Championship, and that helped him earn a spot in this week’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. … Trainer’s victory was his lone top-10 of last season. He went on to finish 132nd on the FedExCup standings. He’s looking to become the first person to defend their Puerto Rico Open title… Ian Poulter, at 51st in the world, is the highest-ranked golfer in the field after missing out on the WGC-Mexico cut-off... Viktor Hovland is the highest-ranked golfer in the world in the field… Past winners in Puerto Rico including D.A. Points, Alex Cejka, Chesson Hadley, Scott Brown, and George McNeil will be teeing it up… There is a robust list of sponsor exemptions playing in Puerto Rico including Sam Saunders and Bryson Nimmer, who played last year while still at Clemson University and finished T47 in his TOUR debut… Kristoffer Ventura also received a sponsor exemption a year ago. He’d go on to win twice on the Korn Ferry Tour and is back in Puerto Rico as a full-fledged TOUR member. Davis Thompson, who plays for the University of Georgia, also is in the field. He finished T23 at The RSM Classic in the fall and recently had a record-setting victory at the prestigious Jones Cup, one of the top amateur events in the country. Thompson set a tournament record by shooting 13 under par in his nine-shot win. Past Jones Cup champions include Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed. … Puerto Rico has been a catalyst for such stars as Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau, all of whom finished runner-up in this event before earning their first PGA TOUR victory.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 300 FedExCup points
COURSE: Grand Reserve Country Club, 7,506 yards, par 72.
STORYLINES: George McNeill, who won the event in 2012 and is back in the field for 2020, was part of a group of PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour golfers who teed it up at a charity pro-am that raised more than $500,000 for relief efforts on the island. McNeil and Cheyenne Woods were part of the winning team … There are a handful of local connections to the tournament via sponsor exemptions and the like for this week – spots are designated for golfers from the Caribbean, South America, and Central America – but one notable absence will be Rafa Campos, who requested a medical exemption from the PGA TOUR in late January. Campos earned PGA TOUR status via the Korn Ferry Tour a year ago… Seven of the 11 Puerto Rico Open winners made the tournament their maiden TOUR victory.
72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Chesson Hadley (2014).
18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Derek Lamely (3rd round, 2010), James Driscoll (1st round, 2011), Chris Tidland (2nd round, 2011), Scott Brown (2nd round, 2013), James Driscoll (2nd round, 2014), Trey Mullinax (1st round, 2017), J.J. Henry (4th round, 2017).
LAST TIME: Trainer notched his first-ever PGA TOUR victory by three shots – the largest margin of victory ever at the Puerto Rico Open. Trainer, who was using a fill-in caddie for the week with his usual bagman out sick, shot a 5-under 67 Sunday to end the week at 15 under. Trainer started the day going 3 under for his first five holes but then recorded back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 to open the door ever-so-slightly to his chasers. But he went 4 under for his final 10 holes – including a birdie on the par-5 18th, to seal the deal. Daniel Berger, Roger Sloan, Johnson Wagner, and Aaron Baddeley finished T2 at 12-under-par.
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