Wild 18th gives Brown win, Tour exemption

2013-03-11T00:00:00Z Wild 18th gives Brown win, Tour exemptionThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

RIO 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.

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 $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, Ga., 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.

He had been planning on playing a full Web.com Tour schedule this year. Instead, he can spend the rest of his season in the big leagues, and start next season in Hawaii for the Tournament of Champions.

Local holes-in-one

Jim Balch

• March 8, Ventana Canyon, No. 5 (Canyon Course), 124 yards, 9-iron. Witnesses: Jim Lent, Chuck Fatum, Charles Zacharias.

Doug Black

• March 4, Crooked Tree, No. 7, 138 yards, 9-iron. Witnesses: Tony Domanico, Scott Hines, Gunny Lindroth.

Penny Conger

• March 6, El Rio, No. 15, 139 yds, 6-iron. Witness: Jo Ann Rust.

Tim Hoagland

• Feb. 23, Country Club of Green Valley, No. 17, 160 yards, 8-iron. Witnesses: Tom Beirne, Oscar Hill, Joe Tsethlikai.

Faye McConnell

• Jan. 30, Oro Valley Country Club, No. 17, 117 yards. Witnesses: Ann Welch, Sharon Jarvis.

Joe Moats

• March 4, El Conquistador, No. 8.

Ginger Pence

• Feb. 16, Desert Hills Golf Club, No. 3, 113 yards.

Kay Rogers

• March 6, Oro Valley Country Club, No. 4, 119 yards. Witnesses: Nancy Pace, Sandie Ganje.

Bob Sanchez

• March 7, del Lago, No. 2, 149 yards, 4-hybrid. Witnesses: Larry Shipley, Jerry Spencer.

Wendell Saunders

• March 6, Dell Urich, No. 2, 213 yards, 5-wood. Witnesses: Jeff Rudi, Jim Smith.

Tim Watters

• March 3, Omni Tucson National, No. 12, 162 yards, 7-wood. Witnesses: Steve McWhorter, Susan McWhorter, Amany Watters.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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