The Upshot: Vegas gets back in the winner's circle
July 24, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- July 24, 2016
- Jhonattan Vegas birdied his final three holes to win the RBC Canadian Open and collect his second win on the PGA TOUR. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
OAKVILLE, Ontario – A recap from the final round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club, where Jhonattan Vegas held off a plethora of challengers for his first TOUR victory since 2011. For more on the final round, check out the Daily Wrap-Up.
Jhonattan Vegas said this victory, his second on TOUR, was for family and country. The big smile never left his face after finding out he had won while hitting balls on the driving range, awaiting a playoff, as if a big weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
“To be honest, no,” said Vegas when asked if he thought it would take this long to notch his second TOUR win.
Vegas made a splashy TOUR debut in 2011, winning just his second event of the season. He had a piece of the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open the very next week before falling back to a tie for 3rd.
Vegas battled a myriad of injuries, especially through 2013, but worked his way back to the winner’s circle Sunday, and, he admitted, this win felt bigger because he’s now a father.
“It feels more exciting because I have a family to share this with,” he said. “Just to see my wife and my baby so excited from watching me on the TV, it makes me happier and makes me definitely more excited. It gives me more energy to keep playing hard and give it my best every single time.”
Vegas got it to 12-under-par after birdieing his final three holes, and finishing with an 8-under 64. With his win, the 31-year-old moves to 24th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Despite his fine play Sunday – Vegas also birdied five of his first six holes – there was still a chance for seven players to nip, or overtake, his final score.
Jon Rahm, Martin Laird, Dustin Johnson, Ricky Barnes, Alex Cejka, Steve Wheatcroft, and Brandt Snedeker all came to the final stretch of holes with an opportunity to eclipse Vegas – with two short par fives in their grasp.
But no one could get it done, and at the end of the day, Vegas had won again.
“That’s the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA TOUR,” said Vegas. “It’s a great feeling.”
Vegas had a six-shot lead last week at the Barbasol Championship going into the weekend but eventually lost by three. But with a 60 on his scorecard last week, and Sunday’s 64, Vegas is thrilled with his game right now.
“The biggest thing is the belief, the belief you can do it. The belief you can go shoot low numbers competing with the best players in the world,” he said.
And besides his family, Vegas said this victory was for Venezuela. He’ll be representing his country at the Olympics in Rio next month, and the win comes at a good time for his homeland.
“Venezula is a country that is suffering right now. It’s just a tough place right now, a lot of people hurting,” he explained. “I want to dedicate it to the country because of all the tremendous support that I’ve had from them.”
PUTTER LETS DOWN SNEDEKER
Although Brandt Snedeker thought he would be the “most hated man in Canada” today, being paired with Jared du Toit in the final group, the Nashville native received a warm reception coming up 18 despite the fact that he couldn’t convert from a greenside bunker to force a playoff with Jhonattan Vegas.
And for a guy who has been long known as one of the best putters on the PGA TOUR, it was the flat-stick that let him down Sunday.
“The putter let me down today,” he said. “To put myself in position to win a golf tournament and to play the way I did today is disheartening to say the least.”
Snedeker, who moves to 5th in the FedEx Cup with his finish, is excited with some aspects of his game going into the PGA Championship next week.
“I drove the ball fantastic today, I really did. I put myself in position on just about every hole. You do that next week, you have half the battle won,” he said. “I’m excited about the fact that heading into a major, I hit some pretty solid shots all the way around.”
DJ FALLS SHORT
Dustin Johnson was just two shots back of the lead going into Sunday’s final round, but he just couldn’t get anything going, eventually finishing tied for second with Martin Laird and Jon Rahm – who continued a torrid start to his professional career.
Johnson, who remains at the top of the FedEx Cup standings thanks to his 10th top five finish of the year, said his putter let him down Sunday.
“It has to do with the putter, I just did not roll it that well,” he explained. “Honestly, I had a good finish. But other than that, I didn’t roll any putts.”
Johnson did make an eagle on the par-5 16th, and had a chance on 17 and 18 to eclipse eventual winner Jhonattan Vegas. Despite coming up just short, he feels good about the rest of his game.
“I’m really confident in my game right now,” he stated. “I feel like everything is going really well.”
QUOTE OF THE DAYLast week I had a six-shot lead going into the weekend and lost by three. I was five back starting today and won by one. It’s a crazy sport.
DAY STRUGGLES WITH LINES
The world no.1 will be doing a lot of “defending” over the next few weeks, but Jason Day is eager to get a few kinks worked out with his putting before his defense at the PGA Championship next week.
Day, who won twice during last year’s FedEx Cup playoffs (and the 2015 Canadian Open and PGA Championship) said Sunday he was struggling with his lines on the putting greens, despite shooting a final-round 67.
“I didn’t putt well this week,” he explained. “I think it was a combination of last week rolling into this week where you’ve got 9.5 on the Stimp and you’re used to seeing one kind of line, and you come here and it’s anywhere 12 and 13 and the line changes.”
Day’s four-round total of -7 had him tied for 14th, his 10th top-20 finish of the year. He remains second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Dustin Johnson, and now looks to become the first man since Tiger Woods 10 years ago to repeat at the PGA Championship.
“It was a good confidence builder going into next week,” he said of his final round. “I feel good about my game.”
OGILVY GOES LOW
Geoff Ogilvy hasn’t played as well as he did Sunday at Glen Abbey Golf Club since 2009. That was the last time he had a round as low as his 9-under-par 63 to close out the RBC Canadian Open.
The Australian’s round, which included two eagles in his final three holes, catapulted him into a share for the lead early Sunday, before falling back into a tie for 9th. His finish, the best of the season, moved him to 174th in the FedEx Cup standings.
“It was a great finish,” said Ogilvy. “You don’t expect to eagle two of the last three holes but you do expect to birdie two of the last three holes. It’s a bonus to make threes on those holes, but it’s nice to get up the right end of the leaderboard for once.”
Ogilvy explained this round was “great fun” and pointed to the weather, which was much calmer Sunday, as being part of the key to his success.
“Today was a little bit more docile,” he said. “The wind was a different direction, but it was overcast and softer. There’s a score out there, but yeah, to finish like that is dreamy.”
Brian Harmon and George Coetzee matched Ogilvy’s final-round 63 as the best round of the tournament.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Brandt Snedeker's chip-in birdie is the Shot of the Day
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA