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May 12 2012

9:02 PM

Vegas learns value of patience

Watch: Vegas birdies 17th

Jhonattan Vegas birdied the island-green 17th after a terrific tee shot to 3 feet on Saturday.


By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

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."

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