Villegas earns five-shot win at Honda Classic|
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (Sports Network) - Camilo Villegas captured his third
PGA Tour win on Sunday, leaving the rest of the field in the dust with a
closing two-under 68 at the Honda Classic.
The 28-year-old Colombian posted a 13-under 267 to beat Anthony Kim by five
shots at PGA National.
Kim had a three-under 67 and finished alone in second at eight-under 272,
while Justin Rose fired a 64 to take third place at seven-under 273.
Paul Casey (67) and Vijay Singh (72) tied for fourth at six-under 274.
Villegas strolled up the 18th fairway with a comfortable four-shot lead, then
holed a 19-foot birdie putt to punctuate his first win in more than 17 months.
Raising his hands in the air, victorious for the first time since winning
back-to-back FedEx Cup playoff events in 2008, Villegas felt relieved.
"It's never as easy as you think," he said.
He may have won by five shots, but Villegas led by as many as six. And at one
point his seemingly comfortable advantage looked shaky when he missed a pair
of short par putts on the back nine.
"Like I said yesterday, tournaments are four rounds. I played three pretty
good ones and was lacking one, but I [got] that today," said Villegas, who
pocketed $1,008,000 for the win.
Villegas collected maybe his most important birdie in an unlikely way -- after
a bizarre drive at No. 8 that barely stayed off the ground and traveled only
223 yards into the left rough.
The "worm-burner" -- as the shots are commonly known -- left Villegas with 197
yards into the green. He knocked his approach to 22 feet, holed the birdie
putt and took a four-shot lead over Singh.
Villegas extended his lead to five shots with a 14-foot birdie putt at No. 9,
then to six with a five-footer at the 10th.
The run of three straight birdies built a comfortable cushion for Villegas,
but two missed par putts -- totaling just seven feet -- at the 11th and 12th
holes made things more interesting.
The back-to-back bogeys allowed Singh and Kim, who made a monstrous 53-foot
birdie putt at the 14th, to pull within four shots. But Villegas continued to
hang on -- with a little help from those behind him.
Singh hit his tee shot into the water at the par-three 15th and made a bogey,
dropping five back. He wouldn't be a factor after that.
Villegas put himself in a tough position on the same hole: near the front of
the large green, 55 feet from the cup, with a tough two-putt for par. He
three-putted, making bogey to fall back to 12-under and just three shots ahead
But Kim had trouble again at the 17th, his nemesis hole during the tournament.
He hit into a greenside bunker and made bogey, falling four behind. Kim played
the hole at four-over par through four rounds.
"I hung in there," said Kim, who is trying to shake off a winless 2009 season.
"I'm trying as hard as I can to get there. I'm sure it will come."
Villegas' latest win came at the end of a whirlwind week that began in his
home country of Colombia, where the Nationwide Tour was playing the first-ever
PGA Tour-sanctioned event in South America.
Villegas noted that his brother, Manuel, made the cut there and that many
Colombians would be watching that event closely. But he also knew they would
be following him.
Shaking off a few hiccups, Villegas stayed patient and produced his fourth
round of 68 or better to secure his third win -- and fourth straight top-10
"My attitude was great all week," he said.
The golf wasn't bad either.
NOTES: Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, tied for 17th
place...Nathan Green, who played in the final pairing with Villegas, took
three shots out of the mud at the 17th and made a triple-bogey. Green tied for
12th place, 12 shots back...There are two events on the schedule next week:
the WGC-CA Championship, which Phil Mickelson won last year, and the Puerto
Rico Open, where Michael Bradley won last year.
03/07 18:32:13 ET