Ryan Brehm needed a bit of a miracle. And he got it.
Brehm had just one start remaining on his Minor Medical Extension and decided to use it at this week’s Puerto Rico Open. But it was a big ask: he needed to win or finish solo second to keep his PGA Tour.
So, of course, why wouldn’t he just win the whole thing?
Brehm held a three-stroke lead after 54 holes and never flinched on Sunday. He shot 67 for a 20-under total and dominating six-stroke victory. It’s the 35-year-old’s first PGA Tour win and came in his 68th start (he’s also won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour).
To make the moment even sweeter, his wife, Chelsey, was his caddie. According to the PGA Tour, it’s the first time a player’s wife has caddied for a winning husband since Patrick and Justine Reed at the 2013 Wyndham Championship.
“Our goal coming into this week was just to improve every day, every shot, every round, every hole,” Brehm said. “We committed to that and, you know, I can say that it worked this week. I think it took a lot of mental discipline, took a lot of conversing. It was great having Chels up there with me caddying. It was a special week. I don’t know, there was just something special about it from the moment we landed.”
Brehm cashed $666,000 for the win, is now fully exempt through the 2023-24 season and earned an invite to next week’s Players Championship. He’s also the lowest-ranked player (No. 773) to win on Tour since Jim Herman won the 2019 Barbasol Championship.
Brehm’s one Minor Medical start was granted after he withdrew from the 2021 Zurich Classic with Covid-19. He was allowed one available tournament this year to make up for it. Already with full Korn Ferry Tour status, Brehm said the Puerto Rico event fit in nicely with his schedule. He liked how he had off weeks before and after, and he had a good finish there last season.
“You know, in previous weeks there have been a lot of mistakes,” he said. “Chels and I just tried to move on from them, learn, put it in the memory bank. I didn’t really pay much attention to my back being up against the wall, I just felt like this week I had everything to win and nothing to lose.”