Villegas shot a final-round 68 to win
the Honda Classic by five shots Sunday over Anthony Kim, giving the
Colombian his third PGA Tour victory.
He finished at 13-under 267, the
lowest 72-hole score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007, four
shots better than Y.E. Yang's winning total a year ago.
And Villegas made it look easy most of
the way, too, capping his day with a 20-footer for birdie, then raising
both hands skyward.
"It's been a long week, man," Villegas
said. "But man, it's been a good one. I just loved every second of it."
Midway through his round, it seemed
like Villegas could waltz to the win. He led by only two after Vijay
Singh made a 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, but three straight
birdies — starting with a 25-footer on No. 8 — sent Villegas to 15 under
and six shots clear of the field.
Good thing he had that cushion,
because the putter stopped working after that.
Fortunately for Villegas, no one made
much of a run.
He missed short par putts on 11 and
12, three-putted from 50 feet on the par-3 15th for another bogey, but
never lost control of the lead and ended up pocketing the $1.008 million
winner's share. The outcome, if any doubt actually existed, was sealed
when Villegas' approach from 184 yards on the par-4 16th stopped 15 feet
from the pin, setting up a routine par.
Steely eyed for most of the day,
Villegas finally acknowledged the crowd as he walked up 18, waving and
secure in the knowledge that he was getting his first victory since the
Tour Championship in 2008.
"Fair play to him," Justin Rose said.
"It was nice to even be in a position to kind of think that way, no
Kim shot 67 and Rose had by far the
best round of the day, a 64 that was three shots better than anyone
else. Paul Casey (67) and Vijay Singh (72) tied for fourth, seven shots
"I hung in there," said Kim, who got
his best finish since tying for second at the season-opening
Mercedes-Benz Championship in 2009. "I still haven't put four good ones
together but I'm trying as hard as I can to get there. I'm working on
the right things and I'm sure it will come."
Villegas didn't even play a practice
round at PGA National this week, after a travel schedule that he somehow
After finishing tied for eighth at
the Phoenix Open, Villegas headed back to his native Colombia on Monday
for a slew of events — sponsor dinner, youth clinic, pre-tournament
party, all within about a 36-hour window — to help open the Nationwide
Tour's Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event
in South America.
He showed up in South Florida on
Wednesday, rolled out of his own bed to start the tournament on
Thursday, and just kept rolling. An opening-round 66 had him tied for
second, another 66 on Friday earned him a share of the lead, and he left
the course Saturday night up by three after shooting 67.
Villegas is now the fourth player
who's still under 30 with at least three PGA Tour wins, joining Adam
Scott (three) and Dustin Johnson and Sean O'Hair (three each).
"Tournaments are four rounds and I
played three pretty good ones," Villegas said. "I was lucky in one. It's
never as easy as you think. I played great the front nine, then I made a
couple hiccups and missed some putts, but I stayed patient."
Rose is still looking for win No. 1
in the U.S., though he feels like he's getting closer.
Down by 10 at the start of the day,
Rose needed a win to get into the CA Championship at Doral and enhance
his chance of qualifying for the Masters, where he tied for fifth in
Rose opened with four straight
birdies on his way to going out in 5-under 30 — the best front nine of
the tournament — and ended up becoming the fifth player of the week to
shoot 64, matching the low round on the Champion course since the Honda
moved there in 2007.
He won't play Doral. Augusta remains
possible, and he admits that getting back into the world's top 50 is
preying on his mind.
"I think I'm where I am because I've
been thinking about it too much," said Rose, who started the week 76th
in the world. "I've actually been listening a little bit to Camilo. He's
said 'I'm out here, I'm enjoying my golf, I'm trying to take my mindset
back to when I first came out on tour' … and that really is the nuts
and bolts of what we need to do."
J.B. Holmes played his way into
He ended the week in a two-way tie
for ninth on the FedExCup points list, three clear of No. 11 Robert
Allenby. The top 10 players in FedExCup points get into the CA
Villegas didn't have to worry about
that. Or anything else.
And when it was over, he gave one
last tribute to those watching in Colombia.
"I'm sure there's a lot of people
there glued to the TV, rooting me on," Villegas said.
He didn't need much help.
Nathan Green played three
shots from near the edge of the water at the par-3 17th, took a
triple-bogey on the hole and wound up shooting 77. Most baffling: On his
final shot from the mud, a second ball — buried and apparently unseen —
came out as well. … Sam Saunders shot 73, Arnold Palmer's grandson
finishing the week even par.
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