PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay – Leading from start to finish for a comfortable four-stroke victory at the 2017 Roberto De Vicenzo Punta del Este Open Copa NEC, Brian Richey carded a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish the week at 16-under 264. The 31-year old from Lakeland, Florida, became the third wire-to-wire champion this year on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
“To get a lead early and never lose it, it’s hard to do that. I’m really happy and proud of how I played,” said Richey, who opened a six-shot lead after rounds of 64-63 and then kept control with scores of 68-69 during the weekend.
With the win and the $31,500-dollar check he collected at Club del Lago Golf, the Florida Southern College graduate charged into the second spot of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit. He also became the first player to gather seven top-10 finishes this season.
Brian Richey interview after winning the RDV Punta del Este Open Copa NEC
Playing in the last group with Richey, Tommy Cocha of Salta, Argentina, birdied three of the final six holes to card a 67 and edge out Gerardo Ruiz of Puebla, Mexico, in a tight race for runner-up honors.
Ruiz kept the second place for most of the day, but bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 to shoot 71 and slip into a tie for third with Michael Davan of Zionsville, Indiana, who posted a 65. They finished six strokes off the pace set by the champion.
Going bogey-free on Sunday for a final round low of 6-under 64, José Toledo of Guatemala City, Guatemala, finished in a tie for fifth at 9-under. He was joined by Charlie Saxon of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who closed with a 66 a week after his victory at the Lexus Peru Open.
Order of Merit No. 1 José de Jesús Rodríguez of Irapuato, Mexico, carded a 71 on Sunday to finish in a tie for the 14th spot. With season earnings for $117,636 dollars and only three events left to play, the man best known as ‘El Camarón’ holds a $41,940-dollar lead over Richey.
Richey turned professional in 2010 and is playing his second season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Notes about Brian Richey’s win:
Claimed this win, his first in 22 career starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, at the age of 31 years, 4 months, 19 days.
Joined Tee-k Kelly (2017 Puerto Plata DR Open) and Jared Wolfe (2017 BMW Jamaica Classic) in a trio of wire-to-wire winners this season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. No player before them was able to dominate from start to finish in five previous seasons on Tour.
With the winners’ check for $31,500 dollars Richey improved his season earnings to $75,696 and charged into the second spot in the Order of Merit. He had entered the week ranked 13th after a T4 finish last week at the Lexus Peru Open.
His 2017 season record improved to one win, seven top-10s and three other top-25s in 14 starts. His top finishes before today’s victory were T4 at the Avianca Colombian Open and the Lexus Peru Open, and T5 at the Abierto OSDE del Centro and the Abierto del Paraguay Copa NEC.
He is the eighth different player from the U.S. to win this season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. All of them have been first-time winners on this Tour. Previous U.S. winners this season: Brandon Matthews (Molino Cañuelas Championship), Patrick Newcomb (Honduras Open), Curtis Yonke (Quito Open), Tee-k Kelly (Puerto Plata DR Open), Jared Wolfe (BMW Jamaica Classic), Michael Buttacavoli (Flor de Caña Open), Charlie Saxon (Lexus Peru Open).
Richey graduated from Florida Southern College in 2009 and turned professional in 2010. He is playing his second season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, a Tour he joined via his Web.com Tour status in 2016. He has made 31 career starts on the Web.com Tour, including 21 in 2015.
- This story published and written by PGA Tour Latin America Communications staff for PGATourLA.com.
- Brian’s win marked victories in back-to-back weeks on PGA Tour Latin America for Fidelity Sports Group clients. The week prior, Charlie Saxon won in Peru and backed up that success with a 5th place in Uruguay. The third win of the season for FSG clients, including Brandon Matthew’s win in Argentina during the spring season.