Villegas and VanDerLaan share second-round lead at Country Club de Bogotá Championship
February 07, 2020
By Sean Wildhack , PGATOUR.COM
- February 07, 2020
- Villegas is in a share of the lead after a 5-under 65 on Friday. (Kevin Prise/PGATOUR.COM)
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — After two rounds at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship, John VanDerLaan and Camilo Villegas share the 36-hole lead at 12-under 129. John Chin and Ethan Tracy sit one stroke off the lead at 11-under 130.
Both VanDerLaan and Villegas played the Pacos y Fabios Course on Friday at the Country Club de Bogotá. Villegas began the second round with a slow start, playing his first six holes at even-par. On the par-5 seventh, he carded his first birdie of the day and went on to add birdies on Nos. 8 and 9. He converted two birdies and seven pars on his back nine to earn a share of the lead at 12-under.
“There are so many ways you can play that little course,” Villegas said of the Pacos y Fabios Course. “I played aggressive off the tee today. It was good at times and then I got into a little bit of trouble at other times. But it is what it is, you have to stick to your strategy and go for it. All in all, it was a good score today and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Villegas is returning from a shoulder injury and is making his third rehab start on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. The four-time PGA TOUR winner missed the cut in the first event of the season and finished T52 at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar. Villegas, who has made 323 PGA TOUR starts, has not played a TOUR event since the 2018 Houston Open.
“I’m excited, I’ve been doing some good work,” Villegas said of his game. “It hasn’t been for too long but it’s heading in the right direction. It’s good to put myself in these pressure situations. I was a little nervous out there, but it is what it is and that’s why we’re here.”
Villegas was born in Medellin, Colombia and is making his first start at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship this week. The 38-year-old had the support of the local crowd behind him on Friday.
“I’m very excited to be playing in Colombia,” he said. “These people have followed me for many years on the PGA TOUR. They’ve supported me and they’re constantly sending good energy and you know what, the energy felt pretty good out there today.”
Joining Villegas at 12-under is Korn Ferry Tour rookie John VanDerLaan. The 23-year-old followed his opening-round 66 with a 7-under 63 on Friday.
VanDerLaan got off to a slow start on Friday, playing his first four holes at 1-over, but rebounded with back-to back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. He kept his foot on the pedal, making an eagle on the par-5 seventh to get to 8-under for the week.
Despite a bogey on the par-4 eighth, the Florida Southern College product immediately bounced back with a birdie on No. 9. VanDerLaan went on to card two birdies and another eagle on his back nine to reach 12-under for the tournament and earn a share of the lead.
“It’s fun, there are a lot of birdie chances,” VanDerLaan said of the Pacos Course. “You have a chance to hit a lot of drivers and get it up by the green but if you don’t hit the drive well, you’ll be scrambling. That happened to me on the third hole and I ended up making bogey. But there are plenty of birdie holes out there and I was able to rebound from that and post a good one.”
Last season, VanDerLaan made only one start on the Korn Ferry Tour and spent most of the season playing Monday qualifiers, failing to earn starts. He returned to the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament last December and finished T7 at Final Stage, securing him starts for 2020 season.
So far this year, VanDerLaan has made the cut in all four starts and recorded back-to-back top-25s in the first two events of the season.
“Last year was tough because I had conditional (status) and I didn’t really know when or if I was going to get in,” he said. “I only played one event, so I was just chasing Mondays (qualifiers) and didn’t get into any of them and kind of lost some confidence. But I went back to Q-School and played some good rounds and have just been playing well ever since. I got my confidence back and hope to keep it rolling.”
Third-round tee times will run from approximately 6:50 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. with players teeing off No. 1 on the Fundadores Course.