Ve­gas re­tains Cana­dian Open ti­tle with play­off vic­tory

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - — AFP

Venezuela’s Jhonat­tan Ve­gas birdied the first play­off hole on Sun­day to win the US PGA Tour’s Cana­dian Open for the sec­ond straight year. Ve­gas edged Amer­i­can Charley Hoff­man af­ter both fin­ished 72 holes on 21-un­der par 267. Ve­gas was in a bunker and off the green as the play­off opened at the par-five 18th at Glen Abbey in Oakville, On­tario. But Ve­gas chipped his third shot inches from the hole and tapped in for the win.

“I knew I had to stay ag­gres­sive,” Ve­gas said of the near-dis­as­ter out of the bunker. “I knew I could pull off the shot. “A lit­tle lucky, to be hon­est,” he added. “Some­times you need that to win.” Ve­gas, one of the long­est driv­ers on tour, ar­rived in Canada hav­ing missed five straight cuts, but Glen Abbey again proved hos­pitable. “It’s magic, to be hon­est,” he said af­ter cap­tur­ing his third PGA Tour ti­tle.

“I knew that I had to shoot a good round to­day to have a chance to win again. I just came out with an ag­gres­sive men­tal­ity, just feel­ing re­ally good about my game. “When I started mak­ing a few birdies, es­pe­cially the putt for birdie on seven, I started feel­ing the same chills that I felt last year when I won, and I just knew that some­thing good could hap­pen if I kept that go­ing.” In the midst of his ti­tle de­fense, Ve­gas said he’d been keep­ing an eye on the tur­moil in Venezuela, where deadly vi­o­lence marred elec­tions to choose mem­bers of a pow­er­ful assem­bly that Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro has tasked with writ­ing a new con­sti­tu­tion.

“It’s al­ways on my mind,” the US-based golfer said. “I have fam­ily that live there. It’s my coun­try of birth. It hurts a lot, see­ing the coun­try the way it is, see­ing a gov­ern­ment that treats peo­ple that way when they don’t de­serve it just to re­main in power.” But Ve­gas was able to keep his mind on the job, and closed with a seven-un­der par 65 to over­take third-round leader Hoff­man. Hoff­man was on the green in two at 18 in reg­u­la­tion, need­ing an ea­gle to win. He fin­ished with a birdie that capped a 68 and forced the play­off. Ve­gas, who started the round three shots off the lead, had pow­ered up the leader­board with six birdies in his first 11 holes.

He had taken the lead with a birdie at 16, but couldn’t find a birdie that would have given him more of a cush­ion at the par-five fin­ish­ing hole. Eng­land’s Ian Poul­ter was alone in third af­ter fir­ing eight birdies in his eight-un­der 64 for 268. Amer­i­can Gary Wood­land carded a fi­nal­round 68 for 269.

— AFP

OAKVILLE: Jhonat­tan Ve­gas of Venezuela poses with the tro­phy fol­low­ing the fi­nal round of the RBC Cana­dian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 30, in Oakville, Canada.

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