Colombian Camilo Villegas fired a final round final 63 to post 17-under-par 263 to win the 75th Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. Villegas defeated American Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson by one shot as they filled out the podium and 54-hole leader Nick Watney finished T5.
For the first time in three and a half years, Camilo Villegas is holding the trophy on TOUR. He racked up five birdies and an eagle to post a bogey-free 63 for the second time this week as he jumped from T8 into the winner’s circle for the fourth time in his career. His opening round 63 also saw him circle five birds and an eagle without squaring a bogey. He was 10-under on Friday before bogeying his final two holes heading into the weekend. On Saturday he posted 68 to find himself four shots behind Watney entering Sunday. The key for Villegas this week was he only made four bogeys on the week and led the field in eagles with two. His ball-striking has not been the problem in recent years and it wasn’t again this week as he was T5 in fairways and T8 in GIR. The flat stick has been the usual suspect but this week he was 16th in strokes gained-putting (SGP) and a respectable 24th in putts per GIR (PPG).
At one point, Villegas was in THAT conversation in the early days of his career as he finished 2008 T4 at the PGA, T3 at the DBC, WIN at the BMW and WIN at The TOUR Championship. In that season he finished with two wins, two thirds, seven top 10s and 10 top 25s as he made 19 of 22 cuts. He finished 2009 No. 42 on the money list as he couldn’t keep the momentum going. In 2010, he rebounded by winning early at the Honda Classic and ending up 20th on the final money list.
That was his last victory on TOUR before this week.
2011 saw him pocket $1.2 million but he only made 13 of 25 cuts that season. The next year was his worst-ever on TOUR as 2012 saw him only hit four top 25s and his best finish was T18. He cashed just under $500k. He showed signs of life last season as he made 16 of 23 cuts and found the top 10 twice but he only had two other top 25s and that just doesn’t work for gamers. The shrewd gamers probably loaded up on him before 2013 and were not going to try that again this year. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Chasing the Colombian for a third year in a row didn’t make sense so don’t feel bad if he’s not on your roster either.
In 2014, Villegas was trying to put all the pieces together and 2013 did show signs as he finished 19th in the all-around final standings. This season is also the first time he’s been in positive territory in the SGP category since 2008. He’s always in shape and rarely injured and has been more a mystery than a mainstay in gamer’s lineups this season.
This performance reminds me of Gary Woodland last season before he won the Barracuda Championship. Woodland was racking up cuts for fun but couldn’t crack any big finishes. Villegas had made 17 of 25 cuts entering this week but only two of those went for top 25s. Heck, he entered this week off a WD at the RBC Canadian Open and he didn’t touch a club last week! Those are plenty of reasons to understand why he was overlooked this week by most.
Moving forward, I’m not going to have him anchor my lineup next week at The Barclays but I am a big believer in momentum. Sedgefield and Plainfield Country Club are both old-school ball-striker layouts so he’ll be on my radar, along with the other 121 players teeing it up in New Jersey as the FedExCup Playoffs begin next week.
Defending champion Patrick Reed played the weekend in 10-under but that couldn’t erase his opening round 71. No player has defended their title since moving to Sedgefield in 2008.
Of the last seven winners here, three of them have broken their maiden. All of those happened in odd-numbered years. This is 2014. #Dothemath
With this victory, Villegas collects $954,000, 500 FedExCup points and 500 very important FedExCup points. Villegas moves up from No. 105 to No. 37, 68 spots, to give him a shot of making the top 30 over the next three weeks. He won the TOUR Championship in a playoff over Sergio Garcia in 2008.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 24 of 41 events in 2013-14 but none in the last five weeks. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman and Brian Harman have won for the USA.
Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed six victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives. Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the European chalk that has won four of the last six majors dating back to the 2013 U.S. Open. Angel Cabrera is joined by Villegas as flying the flag for South America; Tim Clark flies it for South Africa.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 40 events in 2014.
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. I’m always trying to figure out if this is a trend or not. In 2013-14, 20 of 41 leaders have gone on to win as Nick Watney could not hold the 54-hole lead this week.
Last week Rory McIlroy joined Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer as the multiple winners on TOUR this season. Walker and McIlroy have three victories each #rydercupfoes.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. Ryan Moore (30), Zach Johnson (37), Kevin Stadler (33) and Bubba Watson (35), Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30), Matt Jones (33), all were victorious before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35), Justin Rose (33), Tim Clark (38), Geoff Ogilvy (37) and now Villegas, 32, have added to the prime-timers trophy case as the season moves along.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy THRICE (25), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Australian John Senden (42) FINALLY has some company in the winner’s circle this year for the old folks as Angel Cabrera, 44, won at Greenbrier. The old folks were represented by David Toms at T18 this week.