Camilo Villegas, Alex Noren among seasoned pros in the hunt at Butterfield Bermuda Championship
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Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley
Camilo Villegas knows what it takes to win. And for the second week in a row, he’s put himself in a great position to do exactly that on the PGA TOUR.
He’s also one of a half-dozen veterans near the top of the leaderboard at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship looking to make an important move in the FedExCup Fall standings, too.
While Alex Noren leads at 19 under, Villegas sits just one shot back after a Saturday 65. He’s tied for third with Matti Schmid and Ryan Moore at 18 under. Noren and Villegas are 41 while Moore is 40. They played college golf against each other. Now they talk about their kids and what sports they’re into.
Then there’s 50-year-old Stewart Cink just a shot further back. And 43-year-old Adam Scott another shot back.
Golf is all about numbers, and age is just another one here.
“You know what, I feel comfortable out there,” Villegas said. “Overall, three days … one more, just got to keep doing the same thing.”
Villegas is looking for his first PGA TOUR title since 2014, but he was firmly in the mix just seven days ago at the World Wide Technology Championship, where he ended up tied for second. It had been a tough campaign for Villegas, who 10 days ago was 227th in FedExCup points. He had made only three of 10 cuts so far this season, with his best result a tie for 48th at the Puerto Rico Open.
Camilo Villegas dials in wedge to yield birdie at Butterfield Bermuda
He's set to play next week at The RSM Classic and put a bow on this season. Ever-eager to trot a trophy to Sea Island, Villegas said the key to Sunday’s finale in Bermuda is going to be patience.
“I was getting a little too rattled when putts lipped out or a hit a bad shot and I was just kind of going away, it was affecting the way I was playing. You just want it so bad. As a golfer struggling like I've struggled the last several years, I think you want it so bad you start trying so hard and … the game comes and bites you,” Villegas said.
Villegas, who is in the final group on a Sunday on the PGA TOUR for the second week in a row, said he felt anxious heading into last Sunday but “very little” as compared to how he thought he would feel.
“I'll get a good night of sleep and I'll continue (to) bring those feelings (for Sunday). I'll be patient. Hopefully we get off to a good start. If not, we'll be patient and we'll see what golf can bring to us,” Villegas said. “This is a good golf course. The wind's going to be a little bit different. Some nice finishing holes where you can get some strokes back and we'll see what happens. I'm excited.”
Noren, who started the week with a tidy 10-under 61, is projected to move inside the Next 10 with a win. His 19-under 194 set the 54-hole scoring record at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
Noren is yet to win on the PGA TOUR but has 10 titles on the DP World Tour. The closest he’s come to winning on TOUR is in 2018, when he lost in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open to Jason Day.
This week marks his 162nd PGA TOUR start.
“It's what I want to do,” Noren said. “This is what you dream of, having a chance to win and being up in the final group on a Saturday or Sunday.”
With the Butterfield Bermuda Championship the penultimate event on the PGA TOUR schedule this season, there is plenty to shoot for on Sunday, including the trophy.
Villegas is projected to move well inside the top 125 on the FedExCup Fall standings, while Schmid is projected to move from No. 148 to No. 126 and right on the bubble. Ryan Moore is also projected to move inside the top 125. It’s an important time for so many on the PGA TOUR right now – no matter how long they’ve been at it.
That experience, Noren said, has helped him change his attitude heading into Sunday’s finale. He’s more fired up at the final-round opportunity than nervous.
“I think it's more excitement actually because I'm very happy with life in general, so wonderful family. I'm not as nervous as I would have been maybe when I was more on my own 10 years ago,” he said.
Ten years ago – a different age. A different time. But the same kind of goal for all of Noren, Moore, and Villegas and Scott and Cink and the others near the top of the board on Sunday in Bermuda.
Time to grab a PGA TOUR win.
“I've been trying to let the game be the game and let my mind be calm and at peace,” Villegas said. “It's been pretty good the last couple weeks, so let's keep it going."