By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
LAS VEGAS -- Jhonattan Vegas, making just his second PGA TOUR start since February, shot 3-under 68 on Saturday at TPC Summerlin and was at 10-under 203 (68-67-68) through three rounds at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
"I'm feeling good. I'm not 100 percent yet," he said. "I felt the shoulder getting a little bit weaker at the end of the round today, but the best part is that things are trending in the right way. I'm feeling like the old me. I just have to keep rehabbing it. I'm hitting the ball as long as I used to hit it, so I have my power back."
Vegas is playing this season on a medical extension. He has 20 starts, including this week, to earn 369 FedExCup points or $595,483 to regain his status. He missed the cut at last week's Frys.com Open (76-75). Vegas preceded that event with rehab starts in the four Web.com Tour Finals events, missing two cuts and finishing no better than 32nd.
The upcoming Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation in January 2014 will represent the three-year anniversary of Vegas' first career TOUR win, which came in just his second start of his rookie season. It was a rapid rise for Vegas, who grew up playing golf in oil camps in Venezuela before coming to the United States in high school.
He said the shoulder started bothering him in the middle of his rookie season. He had two top-10s in 25 starts in his second year, and decided to have surgery after missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, his third start of 2013.
"I've been off for (seven) months," Vegas said. "When you're off for that long, it's tough getting your mental game, your physical game, every part of the game ready to compete to win golf tournaments. The good thing is that my confidence is back. My strength is back."
Vegas finished fifth at the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in his rookie season and 46th last year.