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For Ryan Brehm, a trip to balmy Puerto Rico this week has been anything but a relaxing vacation.
Playing on the final week of a medical exemption at the Puerto Rico Open, Brehm needs to finish either first or solo second to retain his PGA Tour status the rest of this season. A victory also would include a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. Anything outside the top two Sunday means he’s headed back to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he’s a two-time winner.
With just 18 holes to play, however, Brehm has put himself in position to maintain Tour status, finishing with birdies on two of the final three holes and moving into a three-stroke lead after three rounds at Grand Reserve Golf Club.
Playing with his wife, Chelsey, on his bag this week, the former Michigan State star fired a 68 on Saturday and sits at 15 under, three shots up on Michael Kim and four strokes ahead of a pack of four players.
After Brehm has acknowledged all week the pressure that’s accompanied this event, he’s thrilled with the position he’s in through three rounds.
“Obviously, if you would have given me that at the start of the week I’d have taken it,” Brehm said. “There’s just so much golf left. I mean, honestly, all Chelsey and I are trying to do is make one good swing after another and march along. That’s really all we’re trying to do.”
Ryan Brehm is playing on the final start of his Minor Medical Extension, needing a solo second to stay on TOUR for the remainder of the season.
A win would earn full status for the rest of this season, and the next two seasons.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 5, 2022
Brehm’s last victory came on the Korn Ferry Tour at the 2019 LECOM Health Challenge at Peek’n Peak Resort in Findley Lake, New York, just outside Buffalo. He defeated Tim Wilkinson in a playoff that day.
“You know, I’m just not the same person I was then. I’ve done a lot of growing, and tomorrow I’ll draw on some experiences on the golf course, for sure,” he said. “It’s going to feel different, all the inner feelings are going to be different and I’m just going to have to take them as they come.”