Jhonattan Vegas successfully defended his RBC Canadian Open title Sunday after beating Charley Hoffman with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.
Vegas’ approach from the left bunker on the par-5 18th hit the grass just above the sand lip and still had enough power to clear the water and go through the green.
‘When I heard the clip, because obviously I didn’t see it, I knew that it was probably going to go in the water, because I didn’t know exactly how hard it hit it,’ Vegas said. ‘But then when I saw the ball in the air, it was still going really hard and forward.’
The 32-year-old Venezuelan chipped to a foot – after racing a chip past the hole in regulation from the same area en route to a par – and won when Hoffman’s birdie try from the back bunker slid past the hole.
‘It’s been a special day,’ Vegas said. ‘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 7, 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.’
Vegas closed with a 7-under 65 to match Hoffman at 21-under 267.
Hoffman, the third-round leader, birdied the 18th for a 68.
‘I gave myself a chance, except I putted horribly today and left everything short,’ Hoffman said. ‘Jhonny played great today. All credit to him.’
Hoffman left a 15-foot eagle putt short on the par-5 16th, then had a 10-foot birdie try on the par-4 17th and a 20-footer for eagle on 18 go by the left edges.
‘It’s always tough after you don’t close the deal after having the lead,”‘Hoffman said. ‘Seventeen, I hit a great putt. Actually thought I made it,’ Hoffman said. ‘That green was a little burned out. Thought I made that putt on 17. Eight-teen, I hit a good putt. Sixteen, is the one I want back, right in the jaw strip. Didn’t get there.’
Vegas has three PGA TOUR titles, also winning the 2011 Bob Hope Classic. He’s the sixth player to win consecutive Canadian Opens, last done by Jim Furyk in 2006-07.
Ian Poulter was a stroke back after a 64, the best round of the day.
Tyrone Van Aswegen was the best placed South African as he closed with a 71 for a share of 19th place, dropping eight places from his 54-hole position.
Photo: Getty Images
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