Villegas, Wu and Cole share Round 1 lead at Country Club de Bogotá Championship
February 06, 2020
By Sean Wildhack, PGATOUR.COM
- February 06, 2020
- Camilo Villegas is making his first PGA TOUR sanctioned start in his home country of Colombia. (Courtesy of Federico Arboleda)
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — After the first round of the Country Club de Bogotá Championship, Camilo Villegas, Dylan Wu and Eric Cole share the lead at 7-under. Villegas carded a 7-under 64 on the Fundadores Course at the Country Club de Bogotá while Wu and Cole posted matching 7-under 63s on the Pacos Course.
Beginning on the 10th hole on the Fundadores Course, Villegas began his round in calming fashion with four consecutive pars. He recorded his first birdie of the day on the par-4 14thand added his second on No. 16. A bogey on No. 17, his eighth hole of the day, slowed his momentum and moved him back to 1-under on the round.
After pars on Nos. 1-3, Villegas caught fire making an eagle on the par-4 fourth. He kept his foot on the pedal recording birdies on his next four holes. He closed his round with a par on No. 9 to post 7-under 64.
“I played good, I saved some good pars where I needed to and then I got hot there on the front nine,” Villegas said. “The putter seemed to be rolling pretty well at the end. The eagle on four just got me going. It gave me some confidence and, like I said, it’s been 21 months and you don’t really know what to expect.”
Villegas, a 2005 Korn Ferry Tour graduate, is making his first start in Bogotá and 32nd start on the Korn Ferry Tour. Villegas is originally from Medellin, Colombia, and played his college golf at the University of Florida. He has won four times on the PGA TOUR and has made 323 TOUR starts throughout his career. Villegas is returning from a shoulder injury and is making his third rehab start on the Korn Ferry Tour this year.
“I was a little anxious in the beginning for the first few holes,” he said. “I was excited to be here and that’s why we’re here, to feel those nerves again. I haven’t felt them in 21 months without playing golf. It’s nice to feel them here in front of the home crowd.”
Dylan Wu and Eric Cole posted matching 7-under 63s on the Pacos Course at the Country Club de Bogotá on Thursday. Despite playing his first four holes 1-over, Wu rallied with eight birdies over his final 14 holes to earn a share of the lead.
“It’s definitely better to start off bad and finish well versus starting out well and finishing bad,” Wu said. “You just need one hole or one shot to go your way and you have all the momentum. I just tried to play really smart and take it one hole and at a time and give myself as many looks as possible.”
Wu is playing in his first full season on the Korn Ferry Tour. Last June, he was preparing for the third event of the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada season when he received a phone call. He was notified he had gotten in the field for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS. After debating where to play, he cancelled his trip to British Columbia and made his way to Springfield, Illinois.
The Northwestern University product made the most of his opportunity on the Korn Ferry Tour. He used weekend rounds of 65-63 to finish 15-under, eventually losing in a playoff to Xinjun Zhang.
“I learned a lot last year,” Wu said. “Of course, after getting in and finishing second in my second start but I missed a bunch of cuts after that. This year, a big priority of mine is to be more consistent. I felt like this offseason, I put a lot of good work in on all parts of my game.”
Eric Cole joins the group atop the leaderboard after posting a 7-under 63 on Thursday. Cole is making his first start on the Korn Ferry Tour this season after earning a spot in the field through a one-day qualifier hosted by the Country Club de Bogotá last week. He carded four birdies and two eagles against one bogey during his opening round.
“I got off to a good start and I drove it really well,” Cole said. “I made two eagles which never hurts so, it was fun.”
Cole made only one start on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019 and spent much of last season away from the game. Fighting a back injury last year, the 31-year-old spent his time teaching golf instead of playing.
“I was actually teaching golf about a year ago,” Cole said. “I had a back injury and while I was recovering from that I would teach. I started playing full-time about eight months ago. I’m happy to be playing again rather than teaching.”
Roberto Díaz, Brett Drewitt, Brent Grant and John Chin all sit one stroke off the lead at 6 under.