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December 7 2011

10:29 PM

Villegas explains second-half surge

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Camilo Villegas had four top-10s in 2011 -- two of them during the Playoffs.
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One of the most underreported stories on the PGA TOUR in 2011 was how well Camilo Villegas played in the second half.

Villegas was supposed to be a shoo-in to make the Presidents Cup team, but instead, he free-fell in the first part of 2011. He didn't even have a top-25 finish until June, and he says it was all about erratic ball-striking.

What was different? Villegas now says it was a tiny grip change that caused him to miss the ball left. His grip had grown too strong, he said, and it wasn't until midseason that he realized it.

"The grip had got a little bit too strong and it was definitely hard for me it cut the ball," Villegas said.

"I'm looking toward to next year. I'm definitely hitting it better. I definitely have more confidence. I'm definitely happier," said Villegas, who is preparing to play in this week's Franklin Templeton Shootout with partner Rickie Fowler. "You got to somehow understand the nature of the game and go through those tough times and grind it out and have fun somehow."

Starting around June, Villegas' game turned around. He rallied to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, and then reeled off top-10s in the Playoffs. He then went 15 under in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic and tied for fourth.

"I had my back against the wall going into the Playoffs, not even knowing if I was going to be a part of them," Villegas said. "I stepped it up and played some good golf."

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