Save Money in this Sunday's paper

PGA Tour at Greensboro

comments

Villegas wins PGA event in Greensboro

By John Dell
Winston-Salem Journal

GREENSBORO Soon after Camilo Villegas won the Wyndham Championship, he did what most everybody would do if they had the chance – he took a selfie with the Sam Snead Cup.

Snead never did that during the eight times he won one of the oldest PGA Tour stops in existence, but this is a new generation.

Villegas shot a 7-under 63 Sunday at lush Sedgefield Country Club to finish 17-under par and win his first title in more than four years. When he finished way ahead of the pack just after 5 p.m., there was a long wait as the other contenders tried in vain to match his score.

“I just stayed (in the scoring trailer), and there was a TV and nice air conditioning, and I was hanging there with my caddie,” Brennan Little, Villegas said about the 45-minute wait before he emerged the winner.

Freddie Jacobson’s three-putt on No. 18 was the biggest break for Villegas; at the time, Jacobson was tied with Villegas. But facing a 73-foot putt up a big hill from just in front of the green, Jacobson putted it past the hole. He then missed a 12-footer for par that would have forced a playoff.

Then it was Nick Watney’s turn to falter. He pushed a drive out of bounds on the 18th that led to a double-bogey. A birdie would have put him in the playoff.

Health Slocum, who was playing with Jacobson, also three-putted No. 18. That put him in fourth place and cost him a chance to get into the FedExCup playoffs.

Bill Haas, who shot 64, had a chance to get to 17 under as well – but he failed to make birdies on his final three holes. He and Jacobson tied for second, one shot back.

“It’s tough sometimes when you are watching it because you can’t control it,” said Villegas, who picked up his fourth victory but first since 2010. “When the boys got closer to the last hole, you get a little anxious.”

Jacobson, who shot 66, hit a 6-iron thin on his approach to No. 18.

“I wasn’t quite sure how to hit that thing,” Jacobson said about his first putt on the 18th, which had to go over a large swale.

Haas had his best finish of the season after leading the field in putting.

“It was kind of nice having Camilo in front of me, seeing what he was doing, and he was playing well,” said Haas, a former Wake Forest player. “I knew I couldn’t exactly put it in kind of slowdown mode.”

Haas crept up the leader board all day and, with a birdie on the par-5 15th, was in good position to keep it going.

“To be in the hunt at 16, 17, 18, I felt like I hit quality shots under the gun and the pressure, and I’m proud of that,” Haas said. “I can take that into the next time I’m in that position, and maybe I can hit some good shots and capitalize.”

Villegas, a Colombian who had fallen to No. 254 in the world rankings, had been as high as No. 7 at the end of 2008. His fall from the upper echelon of the game’s best was something Villegas never dwelled on.

“Tomorrow morning I’ll be the same guy I was yesterday; so they’ll be a million beautiful things being written about me, and I probably won’t be reading too many of them,” he said. “I’ll be the same guy with this trophy or if I would have missed the cut.”

Villegas, who shot 63 Thursday during the first round, caught fire early Sunday and was 5 under for the day after six holes. He birdied Nos. 2 and 4, and then eagled No. 5 before adding another birdie at the sixth.

After the birdie putt at No. 6, he showed a little more emotion than usual.

“It was more than emotional, I was surprised,” Villegas said about the 46-foot birdie putt. “That was a bomb. … At that point, I thought: ‘Man, you know what? I must be gaining ground quickly.’ 

Little, who has been Villegas’ caddie for 31⁄2 years, said the two never talked about what it was going to take to win. Instead, Little said Villegas took his time walking between shots.

“He plays fast and it was slow out there,” Little said. “He knew by taking his time walking between shots, it kind of put him in a better place. That was a big key.”

Villegas wouldn’t say what his low point was during the past four years. He keeps himself in great shape, thanks to his love of bicycling – he said doing 100 miles of hard riding is a release.

“The cycling, it gets me away from everything,” Villegas said. “I especially love riding with a lot of guys I ride with who are really good, so there’s a lot of suffering and no time to think. Somehow I love that.”

He also loves being a winner again on tour.

“This is nice,” he said.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More
CharlotteObserver.com