Confidence boosting Villegas toward securing status for 2014

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Manual Villegas' best finish of the season on the Tour is a T7 at the Colombia Championship.
August 23, 2013
By Anne Detlefsen, PGATOUR.COM

Bursting bubbles is becoming a family affair for the Villegas’.


This week on the PGA TOUR, Camilo Villegas is in contention at The Barclays, projected to break through the top 100 bubble in the FedExCup standings and make it the next stage of the Playoffs. Meanwhile, halfway across the country in Omaha, Neb., his younger brother Manual is playing himself into a similar position on the Tour.

The younger Villegas went out in the second round of the Cox Classic Presented by Lexus of Omaha and bested his brother’s career-low Tour score (64) with an 8-under 63 at the Champions Run course.

He strung together four birdies in a row and closed out his first nine with an eagle on the drivable 315-yard par-4 hole.

“It was nice to get off to a fast start,” he said. “[Yesterday] was hard for me. I left a lot out there. I went home a little bit disappointed.”

After his opening-round 69, Villegas was reminded of a start he had at the Cox Classic in 2010 thanks to a sponsors exemption. He missed the cut, but put up a fight to post a 65 in the second round.

“I thought, ‘man, that was pretty good,’ you know,” he said. “I just tried to be relaxed today. I knew I was playing pretty good. I knew at some point they were going to go in. I was patient enough.”

It’s been an up-and-down season for Villegas. In early March he teed it up at the Colombia Championship on the Tour and cashed a check for $21,087.50. Then three weeks later, he won on the NEC Series PGA TOUR Latinoamerica at the TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open. He followed it up with a few lackluster starts, but rebounded with a tie for third at the Mundo Maya Open, to move to fifth on Latinoamerica’s Order of Merit.

“I’ve been working hard on my game,” Villegas said. “Obviously [winning] motivates you, but in golf it doesn’t last very long. All the confidence you get can go away in a couple shots.”

He entered this week 128th on the Tour money list. Top 100 after this week will earn conditional status on the Tour for 2014, while the top 75 will continue on to the Tour Finals to battle for 50 2013-2014 PGA TOUR cards. With his play today, Villegas is projected to move to 98th on the money list.

Regardless of where he finishes this week, he can return to PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in October, where he'll have another shot at Tour status. ‘Los Cinco,’ the top five on their Order of Merit, earn playing privileges on the Tour for 2014.

“I try to keep my expectations down,” Villegas said. “I’m just looking at it as a bonus. If I get in the top 100, that’d be awesome. If I get in top 75, that’d be great. It’d be like stealing one, because I’ve only been in five [ Tour] events, so I’m just going to try to keep going.”