By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LEMONT, Ill. -- Camilo Villegas played brilliantly on the back nine Sunday at Cog Hill. Until he came to the 18th hole, that is.
The talented young Colombian had reeled off five of his nine birdies on the homeward stretch and had moved to 28th in the FedExCup. By the time Villegas came to the daunting par 4, though, he was ranked 32nd and the bogey effectively sealed his fate, sending him down to 37th.
Even so, Villegas, who came into the final regular season event on the bubble at No. 125, had made a valiant effort to play his way into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the fourth time in the last five years.
He moved to 109th with a tie for ninth in Greensboro and jumped 58 spots when he shared sixth at The Barclays. Villegas then tied for 25th at the Deutsche Bank Championship to move to No. 47 as the BMW Championship began.
Villegas likely needed to finish fifth or better on Sunday to make the field at East Lake, where he won in 2008. The former BMW champ was tied for fourth when he came to the 18th hole but the 4-footer he missed to save par proved costly.
"I played pretty good all day," Villegas said. "Tough day out there to make how many birdies, a ton, maybe ‑‑ six, I wish, but maybe five on the back nine, and I made four bogeys that killed me and obviously put myself in bad position, then recovered.
“Had an easy putt (at 18) I just pushed it a little bit. But you know what? It was a fun day. It was a challenge out there. I truly believe it's going to cost me -- that putt."
As disappointed as Villegas was, he tried to look on the bright side. His two top-10s in the last three tournaments brought his total for the year to three and his improved play during this crucial stretch was something on which to build.
"You know what? it's been a pretty crappy year and the last few weeks we turned it around a little bit to the positive side," Villegas said. "Looking forward to finishing strong and keep it going."
LEMONT, Ill. – Camilo Villegas made a late charge to climb into the top 30 in FedExCup points, but a bogey at the par-4 18th hole likely will prevent him from advancing to next week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Villegas missed a four-foot par putt at 18th, his only bogey on a back nine in which he had produced five birdies in a seven-hole stretch that moved him briefly into the top 30.
After his bogey, Villegas is now projected to finish 37th. He started the week 47th in points.
A par at 18 may not have kept Villegas alive for the Playoffs. He likely needed to birdie the 18th to give himself a shot. But a poor drive prevented him from finding the green with his second shot. He made a nice chip in an attempt to save par, but couldn’t hole the short putt.
Camilo Villegas holed out from the bunker at the par-3 second hole in Thursday's first round at Cog Hill.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
LEMONT, Ill. -- Cog Hill has treated Camilo Villegas pretty well. In his last three trips here, he's finished tied for 11th or better each time.
And the BMW Championship has treated him pretty well, too. Besides his positive results at Cog Hill, he also won the 2008 BMW Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis.
So maybe it's no surprise that he's out to a fast start this week, shooting a 3-under 68 that puts him tied for fifth, five shots behind tournament leader Justin Rose.
"I've definitely played good on this golf course," he said.
And he's definitely playing with momentum this week. With his back against the wall -- in terms of his FedExCup position -- going into the Wyndham Championship last month, Villegas has reeled off a tie for ninth at Greensboro, a tie for sixth at The Barclays and a tie for 25th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
He still has work to do in order to advance to next week's TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He started this week 47th in points but is projected to be 30th after Thursday's round. That would give him the last spot at East Lake.
What has he found lately in his game?
"A lot of people have asked me that same question," Villegas said. "Being honest, it's a funky game, crazy game. Who knows?
"I've had a great attitude all year through the bad times and the average times and now I've been playing a little better. I'm excited and just got to keep it going."
|1||Dustin Johnson||19||Picked a great time to get his first win since last year's Playoffs|
|2||Matt Kuchar||12||Another strong Barclays makes Kuchar a FedExCup threat again|
|3||Nick Watney||1||Didn't hurt himself with a Sunday 64 and a T10 finish.|
|4||Webb Simpson||3||Carried momentum from Wyndham win to T10 at Plainfield|
|5||Luke Donald||4||Started slowly but good weekend moved him ahead of Stricker|
EDISON, N.J. -- Getting there may be a challenge with Hurricane Irene rumbling up the East Coast.
But eight players punched their ticket to TPC Boston on Saturday at The Barclays when they moved into the top 100 in the FedExCup standings.
Camilo Villegas made the biggest move -- jumping 58 spots to 51st when he tied for sixth at Plainfield Country Club. Chris Stroud moved up 31 spots, Ian Poulter 36, Padraig Harrington 44, Bill Lunde 18, William McGirt 29, John Merrick 6 and Ernie Els 19 to No. 99.
Poulter and McGirt had two of the biggest challenges in the final round. The colorful Brit birdied four of his last five holes on Saturday to seal the deal while McGirt, who was the last man to make the field for the first event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, clocked in at No. 101 until he made a birdie on the 17th hole.
Falling out of the top 100 were Bryce Molder, Hunter Haas, Chris DiMarco, Paul Goydos, Nick o'Hern, Matt Bettencourt, Tim Herron and Michael Bradley. Of that group only Molder made the cut and his closing 70 and tie for 65th simply wasn't enough.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
EDISON, N.J. -- Camilo Villegas would be the first to tell you that he hasn't had the kind of year he wanted. But the Colombian has certainly picked the right time to come alive during the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Villegas started last week at the Wyndham Championship -- in what the NCAA would call a "play-in game" if this were college basketball -- ranked 125th in the standings and moved up 16 spots with his tie for ninth. He then tied for sixth on Saturday at The Barclays and this time jumped a whopping 58 spots all the way to 51st.
Suddenly Villegas is in good shape to make the field for the BMW Championship, a tournament he won in 2009, as well certain to be playing at TPC Boston next week. Only the top 70 after the Deutsche Bank Championship are headed to Chicago for the BMW Championship.
"It's been while playing crappy and it's not a fun job when you're not playing good," Villegas said. "So it's time to turn it around, play some good golf and have more fun, I guess."
Toward that end, Villegas said he's found himself showing more emotion on the course of late. In some ways that’s contrary to conventional wisdom of players needed to stay on an even keel but it’s working for him.
"I've been a little more nervous, but at the same time … a little more,” Villegas paused, searching for the right word. “The feelings are a little stronger. I get out there and I get mad a little bit more but I get excited a little bit more, too. I know sometimes some people say you should be very level and things like that, but I think it's a good thing for me right now to get a little more excited because it hasn't been a fun year.
"It's been a grind and the last two weeks were fun."
Villegas hit all 18 greens in regulation on Saturday as he fired a 65 in the final round to move to 14 under. It marked the sixth straight time he'd broken 70 and Villegas ended the week ranked tied for ninth in greens in regulation, 18th in fairways hit and 23rd in putting.
"This week, it's killing me a little bit to know how bad I putted the last few days," Villegas, who needed 30 on Saturday, said. "I hit the ball so good the last two days and I hit so many iron shots close in there that I know I left some out there."
The way he’s playing, Villegas will probably find them next week at TPC Boston.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With every birdie he makes on Sunday, Camilo Villegas is gaining momentum for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Villegas came into the week with the target on his back, ranked No. 125 in the FedExCup. He treaded water with a first-round 70 but is now 11 under with three holes remaining -- and he's gained 10 spots in the standings, in the process.
Interestingly, the man ranked No. 116 right now is Ernie Els, who was one spot below Villegas at the start of the week. The South African, who started the round five strokes off the lead, is 1 over for the day through 10 holes and currently tied for 23rd.