Check out the top five shots of the week from the 2012 PLAYERS Championship featuring highlights from Tim Clark, Brian Gay, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, and Jhonattan Vegas.
Jhonattan Vegas birdied the island-green 17th after a terrific tee shot to 3 feet on Saturday.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Jhonattan Vegas learned a valuable lesson last year when he made his debut at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Rounds of 78 and 77 sent the Venezuelan home early and he was determined that wouldn't happen again. Instead, Vegas has been patient this week and landed in contention at 6 under after Saturday's round of 68.
"You've got to realize and know that you're going to miss shots
here, as simple as that," Vegas said. "You're going to have to
fight for your pars. As long as you know that and you're willing to
work hard to get it done, you can really build good rounds around
here, because there are holes here that you can take advantage of.
"That's my mentality for the week. Last year I tried to be a little too aggressive on the course, and the course kind of spanked me a little bit. This year we are trying to do things a little bit different with a 2-iron, trying to hit it more in play and give myself more chances. That's kind of what I've been doing so far."
So far, so good, too. Vegas opened with a 15-footer for birdie at the first hole, then chipped in for eagle at the par-5 second. Vegas said the chip from 79 feet wasn't easy -- particularly after he watched Jim Furyk send his third shot over the green.
“I was just trying to be a little protective," Vegas said. "But I just had a good feeling about that shot. Just read it perfectly and executed it perfectly and luckily it went in.”
Vegas finished strong, as well, two-putting for birdie from 18 feet at the 16th hole and making a 3-footer at the 17th -- much to the delight of the huge crowd. He said he felt the nerves but fed off the "positive energy" when he stood over his wedge to the island green.
"I'm in a great place," Vegas said. "I'm probably going to be four or five back for tomorrow. I feel like I'm in a good position because I don't feel like the leaders are going to go too far ahead; so, within range, which is good, which is kind of what you want to have going into Sunday."
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Transitions Championship below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUPS
|Gary Woodland vs. Webb Simpson||Woodland handed Simpson a tough loss at Copperhead last year|
|Justin Rose vs. Luke Donald||Rose working on a season like the one Donald authored in 2011|
|Brandt Snedeker vs. Jhonattan Vegas||It's Vanderbilt (Snedeker) against Texas (Vegas) at Copperhead|
|Ryo Ishikawa vs. K.J. Choi||Asia's top young player takes on Asia's best over-40 player|
|Angel Cabrera vs. Zach Johnson||Two former Masters champions on road to Augusta National|
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Jhonattan Vegas was on the outside looking in at The Presidents Cup in November. The Venezuelan finished 30th on the list for the International team – too low for an automatic spot -- and did not get one of Greg Norman's Captain's picks at Royal Melbourne.
Still, he watched on TV with frustrated interest as the Internationals suffered another loss to the U.S. And even though the next Presidents Cup isn't until 2013 at Muirfield Village, Vegas doesn't think it's too early to start setting his sights on making the International team.
The players who automatically qualify are the top 10 International players (excluding those eligible for the European Ryder Cup team) from the Official World Golf Ranking as of a specified date late in the 2013 season.
Vegas was ranked 187th in the world going into last year's then-Bob Hope Classic (now the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation). But after his surprise win – the reason he’s in this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions field -- he moved up 101 spots to 86th in the world.
He struggled for a stretch after that, however, as the added demands that come being a TOUR winner and his interesting background story challenged his and his support team's organization skills.
"I had so much on my plate," he said, "that I wasn't really ready for it."
He's now 111th in the world but feels like he's in much better control of his game and his surroundings. And with Muirfield Village two years away, he has plenty of time to move up and grab an automatic spot on the International team. Ryo Ishikawa, who grabbed the final automatic spot this year, is currently ranked 51st in the world – 60 spots ahead -- so Vegas also has his work cut out for him.
"My goal this year is just to really play consistent, just the whole year," Vegas said.
If he does that, then he may very well achieve one of his other goals in 2013.
Our list of Players to Watch for 2012 continues Sunday with five proven PGA TOUR champions – in fact, all five won last year.
Jhonattan Vegas was the talk of the TOUR early in the 2011 season, winning as a rookie in what is now the Humana Challenge. He was the TOUR’s first Venezuelan-born winner.
Veterans Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose and Steve Stricker all added to their win totals in 2011 in impressive fashion. Snedeker won in a playoff over Luke Donald at the RBC Heritage, Rose won in the PGA TOUR Playoffs at the BMW Championship en route to a fifth-place FedExCup finish, and Stricker had one of the year’s top shots in winning a third consecutive John Deere Classic.
Below is a link to each of the 5 players who were revealed on Sunday. PGATOUR.COM will countdown the players for the rest of December, with No. 1 unveiled on Dec. 30.
Be sure to check out this year’s new addition of the Three Wise Men – Chris DiMarco, Arron Oberholser and Craig Perks, who offer their takes on each of the players on the list.
Let’s us know how you think these players will perform in 2012 and whether we ranked ‘em too high, too low or just right.
Six rookies combined for seven wins during the 2011 PGA TOUR season. Check out their accomplishments.
The six nominees for 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year have been unveiled.
The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2011 eligible to vote. The winners are expected to be announced the week of Dec. 12.
Nominees for the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year are:
Now it’s your turn. Which player do you think deserves this year’s Rookie of the Year?