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BC-GLF--Puerto Rico Open,2nd Ld-Writethru

February 21, 2019
Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. Romero birdied three of his last five holes in a bogey-free round at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club. The 37-year-old Argentine player won his lone PGA Tour titles in New Orleans in 2008.

RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions Thursday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.

Romero birdied three of his last five holes in a bogey-free round at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club.

“I always like playing in the wind, but of course it very tough for everyone,” Romero said.

The 37-year-old Argentine player won his lone PGA Tour titles in New Orleans in 2008 and has two European Tour victories.

“I have been playing well for a while,” Romero said. “I’m really happy with the round. Mainly it was my putting that was letting me down lately and today was very good, so it gives me a lot of confidence for the whole game.”

Austria’s Sepp Straka was a stroke back in the event that was canceled last year because of Hurricane Maria.

“Putted really well. My irons were really the key today,” Straka said. “It was really windy out there, so I put the irons in the right spots, gave myself a lot of close looks. I hit it inside of 3 feet a couple times from outside of 100, so that’s always nice. The irons were definitely the key.”

Ben Crane was at 68 with Ollie Schniederjans, David Hearn, Roberto Castro, Martin Piller, Roberto Diaz, Joey Garber, Nate Lashley and Alex Kang.

Clemson senior Bryson Nimmer, making his first PGA Tour appearance, topped the group at 69.

“We work with a sports psychologist back in Clemson and we just talk about trying to treat every tournament the same,” Nimmer said. “So that’s kind of the mindset I took, I did the same routine, same everything, ate at the same time. Just tried to kind of make it as minimal as possible.”

Daniel Berger, at No. 72 has the highest world ranking in the field, opened with a 70. D.A. Points, the 2017 winner, shot 71.

Edward Figueroa topped the four Puerto Rican players in the field with a 71. Rafael Campos, a winner this year on the Web.com Tour, had a 73. Jeronimo Esteve shot 75, and fellow amateur Max Alverio had a 78.

The winner will receive a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an exemption to the PGA Championship, but won’t get an invitation to the Masters.