Guadalajara, Mexico (March 24, 2013) - Colombian Manuel Villegas showed his mettle at the end of the TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open to win his first title on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
The 28-year-old was trailing by two strokes with four holes left to play, but holed out for eagle at the par-5 15th hole and closed with a birdie at the par-4 18th hole to shoot 67 and defeat Mexican José Jesús Rodríguez by one.
His birdie on the final hole was the result of a brilliant second shot that rested just five feet from the flag. After he made it, he launched his fist toward the hole to celebrate the first win by a player from his country on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
"When I holed out for eagle on the 15th, that gave me the encouragement to finish and know that I could close well," the Medellin native said about a shot that allowed him to tie the lead to get back in the fight for a tournament that he led over the first 52 holes.
"I saw that him (Rodriguez) had his chance for birdie on the 18th, but barely missed his putt. I was in perfect position on the fairway and with very good distance for that second shot I had left. I concentrated very well just at the moment of impact and I hit a great shot.”
Villegas, who in the middle of the press conference received a congratulatory call from his brother Camilo, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, thanked his family and was optimistic for what follows now that he’s second in the Order of Merit of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
"For me this is very important because last year I had an injury that took me 90 days away. I think (returning from injury) was more difficult for me than I expected,” Villegas said. “My career was going well at the time, I felt I was getting better and the return was not easy. I worked very hard the last few months and I'm obviously happy that all that effort I've put my golf paid the fruits here with this victory.
Weather Sunny and clear with an average temperature of 28 º Celsius. The wind, blowing at only about 14 km/h from the west, was no factor at all.
José de Jesús Rodríguez Tied for third place and three strokes off the lead to start the day, Mexican José de Jesús Rodríguez came within one step of forcing a playoff with a bogey-free 66 that turned out to be the best of the day. "I went out to play the golf that I know. I did what I had to do. Zero errors, zero bogeys and I'm OK about the outcome, "said ‘El Camarón’, who already has two second-place finishes in the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, where he lost a playoff for the Brasil Open last October.
Los Cinco "Los Cinco", the top 5 players on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Order of Merit is: 1. Ted Purdy (USA), 2. Manuel Villegas (COL), 3. José de Jesús Rodríguez (MEX), 4. David Vanegas (COL), and 5. Jorge Fernández-Valdés (ARG). The top 5 at the end of the 15 events of the season will fill those five spots will earn status to compete on the Web.com Tour in 2014.
Best round of the day
66 (-5) Josee de Jesús Rodríguez, Mexico.
67 (-4) Manuel Villegas, Colombia and Fernando Figueroa, El Salvador.
Bogey-free rounds this week
R1: Ted Purdy (USA) 69
R4: José de Jesús Rodríguez (MEX) 66, Octavio González (MEX) 68
Scoring average at the par-71 Country Club Atlas
R1: 36.194 on the Front 9, 36.847 on the Back 9, Total: 73.041
R2: 36.309 on the Front 9, 37.739 on the Back 9, Total: 74.049
R3: 35.732 on the Front 9, 37.053 on the Back 9, Total: 72.785
R4: 35.803 on the Front 9, 35.839 on the Back 9, Total: 71.642
Cumulative total for the week: 73.168
PGA TOUR Latinoamérica next event After two consecutive events in Mexico, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica takes a break for three weeks. The season will resume with the 82nd Abierto OSDE del Centro in Cordoba, Argentina from 15 to 21 April.