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Scott Brown shot a final-round 70 to win the Puerto Rico Open by one shot from Fabian Gomez and Jordan Spieth at the Trump International Golf Club.
Brown, who lost his PGA Tour card after finishing 148th on the money list in 2012, now has a two-year exemption on the top-tier circuit.
It was also his first victory on the PGA Tour and by far the biggest win of his career. His three previous professional victories came on the little-known eGolf tour in 2009.
Brown has now earned an exemption for both the Players Championship and the PGA Championship in August.
The American posted rounds of 68, 63 and 67 to head into the final round tied for the lead with Gomez, who fired a third-round 65.
Standing on the 72nd tee, the Argentine held a slender one-shot advantage. He hit a perfect drive, but things soon started to go wrong.
He found a tough tie in a bunker after a wayward second, hit his third into another bunker over the green and missed a 15-foot par putt.
His playing partner subsequently knocked in his four-foot birdie putt to round-off the best week of his golfing career.
Spieth, who made a costly bogey at the 16th, finished in second alongside Gomez, with Justin Bolli and Brian Stuard a shot further back in a tie for fourth.
Former American Amateur champion Peter Uihlein eagled the last hole to finish in a tie for sixth.
"I thought I would need an eagle as well as he was playing," Brown said. "So I just stayed aggressive.
"I was nervous over that last putt. As a kid growing up in Georgia, this is a dream come true."
Brown became the fourth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, following Russell Henley, John Merrick and Michael Thompson.
Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com Trump International Golf Club, Puerto Rico March 7-10, Purse $3,500,000
1) Scott Brown - 68-63-67-70 = 268 $630,000 T2) Fabian Gomez - 69-64-65-71 = 269 $308,000 T2) Jordan Spieth - 69-66-67-67 = 269 $308,000 T4) Justin Bolli - 67-69-68-66 = 270 $154,000 T4) Brian Stuard - 67-69-66-68 = 270 $154,000 T6) Andres Romero - 65-65-75-66 = 271 $121,625 T6) Peter Uihlein - 67-65-72-67 = 271$121, 625 T8) David Hearn - 68-67-71-66 = 272 $101,500 T8) D.J. Trahan - 72-65-69-66 = 272 $101,500 T8) Boo Weekley - 71-67-66-68 $101,500
Note: bold signifies Titleist golf ball usage
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email email@example.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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