Ve­gas re­tains ti­tle with play­off vic­tory

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MON­TREAL: 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 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.

But Ve­gas was able to keep his mind on the job, and closed with a seven-un­der 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 fi­nal-round 68 for 269. AFP

AFP PIC

Jhonat­tan Ve­gas of Venezuela with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Cana­dian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on Sun­day.

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