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."