Ve­gas de­fends Cana­dian Open ti­tle

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ON­TARIO: Jhonat­tan Ve­gas ended a poor run of form by suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing his Cana­dian Open ti­tle with a play-off vic­tory over Charley Hoff­man at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville yes­ter­day.

Venezue­lan Ve­gas, who missed the cut in his last five PGA Tour starts, tapped in for birdie at the first play-off hole – the par-five 18th – mo­ments be­fore overnight leader Hoff­man failed to hole out from a green­side bunker.

“To re­peat in Canada, it doesn’t get any bet­ter,” said Ve­gas, whose seven-un­der-par 65 gave him a 21-un­der to­tal of 267.

Both play­ers started the play-off by send­ing their drives into fair­way bunkers, but Ve­gas found some luck when his sec­ond shot took a chunk out of the lip of the left bunker yet still car­ried just off the far edge of the green.

His ball set­tled in the same area it did in reg­u­la­tion, only that time he chipped it well past the hole and then twop­utted for par.

The 32-year-old chipped beau­ti­fully to tap-in range for birdie and then cel­e­brated when Hoff­man failed to hole out from a green­side bunker.

The vic­tory marked the third ca­reer PGA Tour win for Ve­gas and his first since last year’s Cana­dian Open

Hoff­man (68) had a long ea­gle chance for the win in reg­u­la­tion at 18, but his putt went past the right edge of the cup.

Ian Poul­ter’s in­spir­ing bid to claim his first PGA Tour vic­tory since 2012 fell short de­spite a flaw­less eight-birdie clos­ing round that left the Bri­ton alone in third place.

World No 1 Dustin John­son (67), who started the day five shots back of Hoff­man, had an ea­gle and three birdies, but fin­ished four shots back in a share of eighth.

Bri­tish Open run­ner-up Matt Kuchar, who bat­tled dizzi­ness in his first round, fin­ished 10-un­der for the tour­na­ment and in share of 32nd place. – Reuters CARY (North Carolina): Rory McIl­roy has sacked his long­time cad­die JP Fitzger­ald, a source fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said yes­ter­day, end­ing a part­ner­ship that took the North­ern Ir­ish­man to four ma­jor ti­tles and the top of the world rank­ings.

McIl­roy would have a new cad­die on his bag at the World Golf Cham­pi­onships Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional this week af­ter end­ing his nine-year re­la­tion­ship with his fel­low Ir­ish­man, the source said.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from McIl­roy’s man­age­ment to an e-mailed re­quest for com­ment late yes­ter­day.

Phil Mick­el­son parted ways with his cad­die, Jim “Bones” Mackay, ear­lier this month af­ter a 25-year part­ner­ship that net­ted the Amer­i­can five Ma­jor ti­tles.

Fitzger­ald’s sack­ing, which McIl­roy is ex­pected to con­firm on his ar­rival at Fire­stone Coun­try Club in Akron, Ohio, comes barely a week af­ter he pub­licly thanked his bag man for jolt­ing him into gear when he made a poor start to the Bri­tish Open.

McIl­roy, who won his last Ma­jor at the 2014 US PGA Cham­pi­onship, em­ployed Fitzger­ald in 2008 soon af­ter turn­ing pro­fes­sional.

The pair en­joyed a bril­liantly suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship as McIl­roy took over from Tiger Woods as the game’s dom­i­nant force and be­came world No 1.

“He has taken me from 200 in the world to Ma­jor cham­pion,” McIl­roy said of Fitzger- ald in 2011.

At the Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale ear­lier this month, McIl­roy again heaped praise on Fitzger­ald, who de­liv­ered some blunt words to his boss af­ter the North­ern Ir­ish­man started the tour­na­ment with a string of bo­geys.

Af­ter fight­ing back to shoot one-over 71 in the first round, McIl­roy said that Fitzger­ald had done a “great job”.

It now looks like the Bri­tish Open was Fitzger­ald’s swan­song with McIl­roy, who flirted with con­tention in the fi­nal round be­fore fin­ish­ing equal fourth.

Forbes es­ti­mated that Fitzger­ald earned $1.65 mil­lion from his cut of McIl­roy’s prize money over the 12 months up un­til June. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: EPA

TEAM WORK: North­ern Ire­land’s Rory McIl­roy, right, with his cad­die JP Fitzger­ald dur­ing the 2015 Play­ers Cham­pi­onship at the TPC Saw­grass Sta­dium Course in Ponte Ve­dra Beach, Florida.

JHONAT­TAN VE­GAS

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