Late birdie hands first-ever PGA tour triumph to Scott Brown
APRIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico -- Scott Brown went from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot victory Sunday in the Puerto Rico Open 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.
March 12, 2013, 12:19 am TWN
Brown closed with a 2-under 70, his final birdie set up with a 3-iron that he kept low to avoid palm trees and leave himself a 30-yard pitch short of the green.
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 earned US$630,000, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a spot in The Players Championship in May and the PGA Championship in August. Because the Puerto Rico Open is held the same week as a World Golf Championship in Florida, the win does not get the native of Augusta, Georgia, into the Masters.
Even so, it was a stunning turnaround in so many ways.
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.