After missing a four-footer to save par on 18 and before signing his scorecard at Cog Hill, Camilo Villegas headed straight for the computer to check his position. When he saw he was projected just outside the top 30, he pounded his fist down on the table.
Camilo has struggled this year, missing 10 cuts in 25 starts, but he peaked at the right time. At the last regular-season event, the Wyndham Championship, he finished tied for ninth to move from No. 125 to No. 109 on the FedExCup points list. He followed up his great showing with another top ten at The Barclays (T6) to make it to the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he tied for 25th.
“It’s been a pretty crappy year and the last couple weeks we’ve turned it around a little bit to the positive side,” said Villegas after signing his scorecard at the BMW Championship.
Entering the week at No. 47 in FedExCup points, he needed to place fifth or better to play his way into the Tour Championship.
He nearly did. Had he pulled it off, it would have been like the Seahawks, which entered the NFL playoffs with a 7-9 losing record, making it to the Super Bowl this past season.
Making the turn at one-under for his round, he caught fire on the back nine and carded consecutive birdies on 10 and 11 and again on 14, 15 and 16. Due to an errant drive on 18, he had to lay up, but he hit a beautiful third shot to about four feet.
“I played pretty good today,” said the Colombian. “It was a tough day out there to make how many birdies, a ton, maybe ‑‑ six, I wish, but maybe five on the back nine, and I made four bogeys that killed me and obviously put myself in a bad position, then recovered.
“That was an easy putt (on 18), I just pushed it a little bit…I truly believe it’s going to cost me, that putt, but it is what it is,” he said.
Meanwhile, Y.E. Yang, who started the week on the bubble at No. 28, chipped in for birdie on 16 and judging from his reaction, he knew it was huge.
“I didn’t know the exact ranking where I was FedExCup points wise, but the weather is not ideal today, so a lot of players must have struggled, and I knew that if I played under par today, I would have a good chance to still cling on to that last few spots,” said Yang.
“I did have a chance to check midway, and I was still around the bubble, so I figured I’d probably be still around the same position I started at.”
He admitted to nerves kicking in when hitting his hybrid into the green.
“I did focus quite a lot and try to hit the right shot, but I think I hit it a little bit fat but actually made it fly a little bit low,” he said. “I thought as it was in flight that it might not even clear the hazard. Right when I saw it hit the front edge of the green and go over instead of coming back into the water, I think that was when I had ‑‑ my legs got a little bit weak there.”
Yang, who shot one-under Sunday, is tied for 14th and No. 29 in FEC points. He should safely make it to the Tour Championship, which also earns him a spot in Doral, The Masters, US Open, British Open, among other perks.
Jason Dufner entered the third leg of the playoffs at No. 29, but he shot a solid three-under 68 in tough conditions to move up the leaderboard. He’s now projected to finish No. 23.
Sergio Garcia said yesterday after he shot 67 and tied for low round that he didn’t care whether he made it to the Tour Championship — “I just want to get done.” Garcia, who needed a fourth place finish or better, made an appearance on the leaderboard when he rolled in back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, but a buried lie in the bunker on No. 14 killed his momentum. Garcia posted consecutive double bogeys on 14 and 15, followed by a bogey on 16.
Sergio will get a much needed vacation. If he smashed a tee marker and snapped his 3-wood yesterday, I wonder how many clubs he broke today!
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)