Vegas retains Canadian Open title with playoff victory
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.
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.