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puerto rico open

Brice Garnett resurrects his dormant career with a 4-hole playoff victory in Puerto Rico

March 10, 2024
2074266765

Andy Lyons

The Puerto Rico Open came down to two players on Sunday who have spent their careers putting the journey in journeyman—Brice Garnett finally reaching his destination before Erik Barnes did with a winning birdie on the fourth playoff hole.

For Garnett, 40, with little PGA Tour status and playing in his first tour event of the year, the victory was the second of his career, six years after his first.

“I told somebody at home last week I wouldn’t still be playing if I didn’t believe I could do this,” he said, unsuccessfully fighting back tears. “I just came with such a thankful heart this week. I was so excited for the opportunity to compete out here again. Everybody back home, my family, my friends, my coaches, I think they probably believed in me more than I believed in myself the last two years. It’s hard, but this is why we do it.

“It’s huge. Three more years on this tour [the rest of the 2024 season and a two-year exemption after that], some events I get in, the opportunity to get into bigger events. Really a lot of unknowns this year, I wanted to start with a stress-free beginning to the year.”

Garnett, 535th in the Official World Golf Ranking, closed with a three-under par 69 at the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, P.R., to tie with Barnes at 19-under 269. Barnes closed with a 68.

The duo matched the first three extra holes with pars, birdies and pars on the par-5 18th hole, then Garnett prevailed by holing a 15-foot birdie putt on 18, before Barnes missed from about 12 feet from the fringe.

For Barnes, 36, and 456th in the World Golf Ranking, it was only the 22nd PGA Tour start of a career that started with his playing the Hooters Tour, followed by PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Korn Ferry Tour before finally reaching the PGA Tour.

Garnett, meanwhile, had earned nearly $7 million in his PGA Tour career, with his only victory coming in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic in 2018. He had had only three Korn Ferry Tour starts this year prior to winning on Sunday. He earned $720,000 for this win.

The victory gets him in the Players Championship this week, as well as the PGA Championship later this year.