Vegas defends Canadian Open title
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
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.