Puerto Rico Open Preview

Puerto Rico Open

2016 Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach Preview
Dates: March 21-27, 2016
Where: Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Course: Coco Beach Golf & Country Club
36-36—par 72/7,506 yards
Field size: 132
2015 champion: Alex Cejka
Purse: $3,000,000 ($540,000/winner)
FedExCup: 300 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @puertoricoopen
Website: gotopuertoricoopen.com
How Alex Cejka won the 2015 Puerto Rico Open

  • Beginning the final round two strokes off the lead, Alex Cejka posted a 3-under 69 Sunday to force sudden death with Sam Saunders, Emiliano Grillo, Jon Curran and Tim Petrovic.
  • Cejka sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole (No. 18) to claim his first career PGA TOUR win.
  • With the victory, Cejka earned 300 FedExCup points and moved from No. 98 inside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings.
    • He also became the first international winner of the Puerto Rico Open.
  • At the age of 44 years, 3 months and 6 days the day of his Puerto Rico Open victory, Cejka became the third-oldest first time winner on the PGA TOUR since 1970.
    • At 47 years, 8 months, 19 days, Ed Dougherty won the 1995 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic
    • Ken Duke won the 2013 Travelers Championship at the age of 44 years, 4 months and 25 days.
  • Cejka’s win at last year’s Puerto Rico Open was his fourth top-20 finish of the season. Two starts later, he would claim his second-best finish of the season, a T11, at the Shell Houston Open.
  • Cejka would make it through the first two FedExCup Playoffs events, The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship, for the first time in the FedExCup era.
    • He narrowly missed advancing to the 70-man field at the BMW Championship, finishing 71st on the points list
  • Cejka got off to a hot start in the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season, finishing T2 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in his first start of the season.
    • He followed that three starts later with a T6 showing at the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia. His first 21 rounds of this season were scores of par-or-better.

Notable players in the field

  • The 2010 and 2011 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play winners, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, respectively, are making their first start in this week’s Puerto Rico Open field
  • Former World No. 1 and five-time PGA TOUR winner Luke Donald first claimed the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings after beating Lee Westwood in a playoff on the European Tour at the 2011 BMW PGA Championship in late May. He held that top spot for the remainder of the PGA TOUR season, as well as for nine of the first 12 weeks into the 2012 campaign.
    • In addition to his match play victory, Donald is the winner of the 2002 Southern Farm Bureau Classic, 2006 Honda Classic, 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic and 2012 Valspar Championship.
    •  In addition to his match play victory, Ian Poulter won the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions and is a 13-time champion internationally.
  • Six players in the field are currently eligible to represent their respective countries at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, including
    • defending champion Alex Cejka of Germany
    • Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe)
    • Graham DeLaet (Canada)
    • Carlos Ortiz (Mexico)
    • Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela)
    • Fabrizio Zanotti (Paraguay)
  • Four major championship winners are poised to take part in this week’s Puerto Rico Open, representing all four majors;
    • Retief Goosen (2001, 2004 U.S. Open)
    • David Toms (2001 PGA Championship)
    • Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters)
    • John Daly (1991 PGA Championship, 1995 The Open Championship).
  • Daly, who turns 50 on April 28, the day after the scheduled conclusion of the Puerto Rico Open, will make his PGA TOUR Champions debut at the Insperity Invitational in May.
  • Fred Funk, who will be 60 years old in June, is poised to make his second start in the Puerto Rico Open this week (2014/T65).
    • Among his eight wins on the PGA TOUR are the 2005 PLAYERS Championship and 2007 OHL Classic at Mayakoba (at the age of 50 years, 8 months and 11 days).
    • Funk, who claimed eight wins on the PGA TOUR, is also the owner of nine PGA TOUR Champions titles.
  • 2013 Presidents Cup teammates Graham DeLaet (Canada) and Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe) will be in this week’s field.
    • DeLaet is coming off a T5 finish two weeks ago at the Valspar Championship.
  • Notable sponsor exemptions include:
    • Web.com Tour member Hao-Tong Li of China.
    • Adam Svensson of Canada, who took medalist honors at the 2015 Web.com Tour Q-School.
    • Zimbabwe’s Dean Burmester and Italy’s Renato Paratore; the 2016 Puerto Rico Open marks the first start on the PGA TOUR for both players.
    • With his win at the AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open at Coco Beach in January, Minnesota’s Frankie Capan, 18, earned an invitation to the Puerto Rico Open.
    • Fabrizio Zanotti, a 32-year old Olympic hopeful from Paraguay, will be making his sixth career PGA TOUR start; competed full-time on European Tour since 2008, with a win at the 2014 BMW International Open.
    • Puerto Rico natives Max Alverio and Rafael Campos.
    • Rodolfo Cazaubon of Mexico won three times on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in 2015 en route to leading the tour’s Order of Merit and earn fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour in 2016. On PGATLA in 2015, Cazaubon won Lexus Panama Classic, Dominican Republic Open, Lexus Peru Open (playoff win).
    • Gregory Bourdy of France.

Puerto Rico Open Notes

  • Since the tournament’s inception in 2008, the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach has helped elevate the careers of future PGA TOUR stars, including the likes of Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Chesson Hadley and, most recently, Emiliano Grillo.
  • Hadley, winner of the 2014 Puerto Rico Open, was voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year that season.
  • Past sponsor exemptions Spieth (2013) and Koepka (2014) used strong performances at the Puerto Rico Open as springboards to future PGA TOUR stardom.
  • The Argentinian Grillo won the 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season’s first event, the Frys.com Open, and is playing in this week’s Dell Match Play. He finished T2 last year playing as a sponsor exemption as a member of the Web.com Tour.
  • Each of the last three winners of the Puerto Rico Open made the crown their first on the PGA TOUR; Scott Brown (2013), Chesson Hadley (2014) and Alex Cejka (2015-16). Since its 2008 inception, there have been a total of five first-time winners in the event.
  • Greg Kraft (2008) and Derek Lamely (2010) complete that list.

Puerto Rico Open Tournament Records

  • Best 18-hole score: 63, Derek Lamely (2010), Chris Tidland (2011), James Driscoll (2011), Scott Brown (2013).
  • Best opening 36 holes: 130, Andres Romero (2013)
  • Best 54 holes: 198, Scott Brown (2013), Fabian Gomez (2013)
  • Best 72 holes: 267, Chesson Hadley (2014)
  • Best come-from-behind win: 4, Derek Lamely (2010), Michael Bradley (2011)
  • Largest margin of victory: 2, Derek Lamely (2010), George McNeill (2012), Chesson Daley (2014)
  • Playoffs: 2, Michael Bradley over Troy Matteson (2011), Alex Cejka over Sam Saunders, Emiliano Grillo, Jon Curran and Tim Petrovic (2015).

 

SOURCE: PGA TOUR

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