Brice Garnett posted a 2-under par 70 on Sunday to capture the inaugural Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship by four strokes.
After opening with a career-low, 9-under 63, Garnett never looked back, going wire-to-wire en route to a four-day total of 18-under par (63-68-69-70).
“Just a huge week. I knew today was such a huge opportunity for me in my golfing career. Didn’t once think about all the things that we just discussed here, so that was good, my mind was in the right spot,” said an excited Garnett.
“Once we made the turn, I told Chris, my caddie, I said, ‘We just need to make nine pars.’ Made a really big putt on 11 to make a birdie, and then just tried to make a par on every hole coming in. So the lead was nice and it made that rainy, windy walk a little bit more sweet.”
Garnett finished his final day in Punta Cana with 10 pars, along with five birdies against three bogeys to secure his first PGA Tour title at the age of 34.
Given its opposite-field distinction, Garnett didn’t earn any Ryder Cup points, but did take home $540,000 and 300 FedExCup points. It also comes with a two-year exemption to the PGA Tour, which will take him through the 2019-20 season.
“Every single player out here owes a lot to FedEx, what they provide for us at the end of the year, the FedExCup Playoffs, the FedEx champion. Yes, it’s big just to get in those playoffs,” said Garnett.
“Pick up 300 points, that’s by far the most FedExCup points I’ve ever made in one single week. Yeah, moves me up the board quite nicely and kind of puts me in position for the rest of the ear to free things up and push forward maybe to get into the top-30 at the end of the year.”
Keith Mitchell birdied No. 18 to get to 5-under par on the day, and a solo-second place finish. The rookie bookended opening round 66s and a final-day 67 between a 75 on Saturday to sign for a four-day score of 14-under par, one stroke – and $120,000 – better than Kelly Kraft (67), who finished solo third at 13-under par.
FINAL TOP 5
1 Brice Garnett -18
2 Keith Mitchell -14
3 Kelly Kraft -13
4 Denny McCarthy -12
5 K.J. Choi -11
5 Xin-jun Zhang -11
5 Paul Dunne -11
5 Andrew Putnam -11
5 Harris English -11
5 Seung-su Han -11
5 Seamus Power -11
5 Tom Lovelady -11
FINAL LEADERBOARD & MONEY
“It’s extremely difficult. I really didn’t put a lot of stock or pay a lot of attention to going wire to wire. Getting off to that hot start on Thursday, 9 under, put me in that position. But I played really solid on Friday and Saturday as well. It’s hard to go wire to wire, it’s hard to win, it’s hard to go wire to wire, but I think the first one may be a little bit sweeter going wire to wire.”
– Brice Garnett
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images