It had been a crazy few days for Augusta native Scott Brown, who arrived at the Tampa Bay Championship fresh from his first career victory on the PGA Tour. Brown won the Puerto Rico Open and moved up 100 spots on the money list. He’s now exempt for the next two years and can play freely without worrying about losing his card.
“Obviously it’s something new to me,” Brown said. “It’s more of a relief than anything just to prove that I can win out here more than anything else.”
Brown was an All-American at South Carolina-Aiken and helped that program win three consecutive NCAA Division II golf championships. He played the PGA Tour last year, but did not earn his exemption and had been relegated to playing on the Web.com Tour. He was able to get in the Puerto Rico Open because it was opposite the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral.
“It was a huge relief because I was going to mainly play Web.com this year and bounce back and forth between both tours,” Brown said. “So now I can kind of make a schedule and know where I’m going to be and that’s a big relief.”
The win earned Brown a spot in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the AT&T Championship, the Memorial Tournament and the PGA Championship, which will be his first involvement in a major tournament.
“Obviously I’ve never played in a major before, so I’m kind of excited to see the atmosphere of a major championship,” Brown said.
Brown said his ball-striking has been solid all season. He began working with coach John Tillery in January and Brown gave credit to his new coach. “He’s gotten me to where I know where the ball is going and I know where my misses are going.”
The difference in the victory was on the greens. Brown putted extremely well and made a birdie on the 72nd hole to claim the win.
“I’ve been putting pretty well all year, but a lot of the putts started to go in that were around the hole,” he said. “I think the consistency is coming from the ball striking and last week I got hot with the putter.”
The weekend was even more pleasant once Brown found out that his longtime friend Kevin Kisner, like Brown a member at Palmetto Golf Club, had also won over the weekend. Kisner, a former All-American at the University of Georgia, won the Chile Championship on the Web.com Tour.