PGA Tour rookie Martin Trainer fired a final round 67 to win his maiden title at the Puerto Rico Open by three shots
Martin Trainer didn't even have a Web.Com Tour card when he came through a play-off in Monday qualifying for the El Bosque Mexico Championship in March last year, but he went on to win - the first of two Web.Com Tour titles in 2018.
Since then he has become a PGA Tour rookie, but with a sole top 50 (T28 at Pebble Beach) and making just three cuts to brag about in nine starts this season, it was understandable that many underestimated him, or simply hadn't heard of him. That is until he shot a five-under-par 67 on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour title at the Puerto Rico Open.
“I never thought that I would be able to win on the PGA TOUR,” said Trainer. “I managed to do it today and that's just incredible.
“The players are so good, they're the best in the world. And I was able to, I guess, prove that I belonged today.”
His victory, which saw him beat out well known figures such as Daniel Berger, Aaron Baddeley and Charl Schwartzel, guarantees French-born Trainer PGA Tour exemption status for tournaments such as The Players - in addition to 300 FedEx Cup Points.
“I never had the luxury of making a plan… I was just trying to play as many events as I could,” said Trainer of the bonus of having freedom to organise his schedule thanks to his win. “So now I guess that will be a little different, I'll be able to pick and choose where I want to go and have a little more flexibility with my schedule. It's just such a great feeling to be able to have that.
It was Baddeley who held the overnight lead but he struggled to a two-over front nine as a quick start from Trainer gave him three birdies in his opening five holes. Back-to-back bogeys from the 6th momentarily stalled his momentum but two birdies from the 9th put him firmly back in position.
Daniel Berger put together a round of the day 66 but still lay in the group three shots adrift, and with a further birdie on the 15th, Trainer was able to enjoy the walk up the 18th with the knowledge the title was his, yet still got up and down from the greenside bunker for a final birdie of the day to get to 15-under-par for the tournament.