Ryan Brehm defies the odds, capturing the Puerto Rico Open to keep his PGA Tour card


The winds were howling. The palm trees were swaying. The galleries were growing.

But Ryan Brehm seemed unfazed by it all.

Needing a top-two finish to maintain his PGA Tour status, the former Michigan State star navigated a figurative minefield at Grand Reserve Golf Club with ease on Sunday, all despite tremendous stakes. While others struggled with the wind, Brehm calmly maneuvered the course, all with his wife Chelsey on his bag.

Ranked 773rd in the world coming into the week, Brehm closed things out in style, firing a bogey-free final round 67 to finish the tournament at 20 under, capturing the Puerto Rico Open by a comfortable margin for his first PGA Tour victory.

Brehm was playing in the last event of his minor medical exemption, meaning he would have been forced to return to the Korn Ferry Tour with a finish of third or lower. This was his 68th start on Tour.

But on Sunday, knowing he’d nearly completed the incredible feat, Brehm and his wife talked about taking things one shot at a time, and he looked surprisingly cool and collected amid the chaotic conditions.

Max McGreevy (14 under), favorite Brandon Wu (13 under) and Tommy Gainey (also 13 under) were the closest to Brehm, but none really mounted a charge to challenge the 35-year-old.

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Brehm turned pro in 2008 after helping lead Michigan State to three Big Ten titles, and he later served as an assistant and even interim head coach for the Spartans.

Brehm’s last victory came on the Korn Ferry Tour at the 2019 LECOM Health Challenge at Peek’n Peak Resort in Findley Lake, New York, just outside Buffalo. He defeated Tim Wilkinson in a playoff that day.

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