Sunday’s roundup: Vegas rallies to win Canadian Open
Oakville, Ontario — Jhonattan Vegas birdied his way off Glen Abbey and waited to see if anyone could catch him. No one could.
Vegas rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, birdieing the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and one-stroke victory.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan Olympic player began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker and four behind U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit. Last week in Alabama in the event opposite the British Open, Vegas shot a course-record 61 in the second round and tied for fourth.
“That’s the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA Tour,” Vegas said. “It’s a great feeling. I mean, last week, I had a six-shot lead going into the weekend and lost by three. I was five back starting today and won by one. It’s a crazy sport. You’ve just got to keep your head down and play hard.”
Vegas had five straight birdies on Nos. 2-6, bogeyed the par-4 eighth and birdied the par-5 13th.
“Starting the round, I knew that if I could get to 12 under, literally that’s the number I had in my mind,” Vegas said. “I didn’t know that it was going to be enough, obviously, to win by one, but I knew it was going to give me a good chance.”
He birdied the par-5 16th, par-4 17th and par-5 18th to post at 12-under 276.
“I think there were a bunch of guys around 11 or 10,” Vegas said. “We had, I think, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, a bunch of guys, really close. Great players. I knew, if I got lucky, it was going to be a playoff. Super surprised when I saw that nobody got to 12.”
Johnson, Jon Rahm and Martin Laird tied for second.
Vegas earned $1,062,000 and a spot in the PGA Championship next week at Baltusrol in New Jersey. He also received a two-year tour exemption and a spot in the Masters next year.
Also the 2011 Bob Hope Classic winner, Vegas did some soul-searching after the loss in Alabama
“I had a long talk with my parents. I had a long talk with my golf teachers about what was missing, what was the missing component of the formula to win,” Vegas said. “Obviously, we had a long talk, a lot of things came out. Came this week with a completely different approach about things, and obviously it worked out.”
Johnson eagled the 16th and birdied the 18th for a 69.
“It has to do with the putter. I just did not roll it that well,” Johnson said. “Honestly, I had a good finish. But other than that, I didn’t roll any putts.
“I played really nicely. I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well. I’m really looking forward to going into next week. I think the game is in really good shape. Do a little practice on the putting in the next few days over at Baltusrol. But other than that, I’m really confident in the game right now. I feel like everything is going really well”
Rahm, du Toit’s former Arizona State teammate, birdied 16 and 18 in a 67. The Spaniard missed a 10-foot eagle putt on 18.
“He just went straight and didn’t break,” Rahm said. “It was hard to see it go by the left edge of the hole and not go in, that’s for sure. … Probably, if not the best, one of the best 5-irons I’ve ever hit, that’s for sure. Came off perfect off the clubface.”
Rahm tied for third in his pro debut late last month at Congressional.
Laird finished with two pars in a 67.
Snedeker shot a 71 to tie for fifth at 10 under. He birdied the 16th and closed with two pars.
“Very disappointing,” said Snedeker, the 2013 winner at Glen Abbey. “Put myself in a position to win a golf tournament and to play the way I did today is disheartening to say the least. To putt the way I did and make decisions the way I did, put the ball in play off the tee like I did today and have every chance to be successful and completely gave it away.
“It’s going to be a tough night, very frustrating to say the least. Lots of positives to build on for next week, and hopefully by tomorrow get my mind right and get ready to go for next week.”
Du Toit tied for ninth at 9 under after a 71. He birdied 16 and 18.
“Once I got the first hole out of the way, I felt pretty good,” du Toit said. “I was just so excited to be out there and in the final group in the atmosphere. I really wasn’t thinking too much about my score or anything.”
Du Toit, an Arizona State senior from Kimberley, British Columbia, was trying to become the first Canadian winner since Pat Fletcher, born in England, in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia. Doug Sanders was the last amateur to win the event in 1956, and Phil Mickelson — then also an Arizona State student — was the last amateur winner on the tour in the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
Geoff Ogilvy also was 9 under after a 63.
Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day had a 67 to tie for 14th at 7 under.
At Gurnee, Illinios, Cristie Kerr held on for a 3-and-2 victory over England’s Melissa Reid to give the United States the UL International Crown title.
Kerr and company were shut out in the first session of the LPGA Tour event, but they got progressively better each day. Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller each closed out wins before Reid missed a birdie putt on 16, handing the decisive victory to Kerr.
Lewis and Piller ran to the green for a group hug with Kerr when it was over. Kerr’s caddie, Brady Stockton, grabbed the flag at 16 to save it for his player.
Lexi Thompson lost 2 and 1 to South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, and then joined the celebration at a muggy Merit Club about 40 miles northwest of Chicago. The Americans won a silver trophy, and each of the players took home a crown and $100,000.
Kerr and Thompson teamed for wins on Friday and Saturday, and the momentum carried over into singles. Piller beat Taiwan’s Yani Tseng 4 and 3, and Lewis topped Japan’s Mika Miyazato 3 and 2.
South Korea, which was the top seed coming into the event, finished second with 12 points, one back of the United States. Taiwan and England tied for third with 11, and Japan finished fifth with eight points.
At Carnoustie, Scotland, Paul Broadhurst won the Senior British Open at Carnoustie for his first senior major title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Scott McCarron.
The 50-year-old Broadhurst overcame an opening 75 to become the third English player to win a PGA Tour Champions major, joining Mark James and Roger Chapman. Broadhurst also is the first player to win the event in his debut since Fred Couples in 2012 at Turnberry.
Broadhurst shot a 66 on Friday and a 68 on Saturday to enter the final round four strokes behind leader Miguel Angel Jimenez. The winner birdied the sixth, 10th, 13th and 15th in his bogey-free round in mostly cloudy conditions with 8-16 mph wind and occasional drizzle. He finished at 11-under 277.
McCarron bogeyed the par-3 16th and par-4 18th in his 69. Jimenez had a 75 to drop into a tie for third with Magnus Atlevi (67) at 8 under.
Broadhurst earned $279,144, a full PGA Tour Champions exemption through the 2017 season, a spot in the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale and a five-year exemption into the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hawaii. The 1991 Ryder Cup player won six times on the European Tour and took the European Senior Tour’s Scottish Senior Open.
At Stateline, Nevada, Mark Mulder rallied at Edgewood Tahoe to successfully defend his title in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.
The former major league and Michigan State pitcher birdied seven of his first 13 holes and finished with a 29-point round for a five-point victory over Mardy Fish in the modified Stableford event. Players received six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse.
Mulder finished with 74 points and earned $125,000.
“I knew going into today I needed to make a bunch of birdies, and I didn’t make many putts the last few days,” Mulder said. “Today is one of those days I knew I had to. Luckily they started rolling in, and you start getting that, there’s kind of a vibe out there. It’s kind of a feeling at times. Our group had it. And I had it. And that’s all that really matters. It was a fun day, and I’m glad I finished it off.”
Second-round leader Fish had a 19-point day, missing a 12-foot eagle putt on 18. The former tennis player made $60,000.
“It wasn’t a very tough putt,” Fish said. “In the context of the rest of the putts throughout the week, weekend, that was a relatively easy one.”
Actor Jack Wagner was third at 67, followed by former hockey players Jeremy Roenick (66) and Mike Modano (65). Entertainer Justin Timberlake was 21st with 35 points, and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry tied for 27th with 28 points. Charles Barkley was last among the 82 finishers with minus-100 points — 30 points behind 81st-place Larry the Cable Guy.
At Battle Creek, Belgium’s Laura Gonzalez Escallon won the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship for her first tour title when rain washed out at the final round.
Play began on time Sunday at 7:30 a.m., but was halted at 9:25 a.m. Rain and lightning continued through the early afternoon and play didn’t resume.
The 25-year-old Gonzalez matched the Symetra Tour’s 36-hole scoring record of 15-under 129 at Battle Creek Country Club, shooting a 65 on Friday and a course-record 64 on Saturday to open a six-stroke lead over Ally McDonald. Gonzalez Escallon earned $15,000 and a spot in The Evian Championship in September.
Gonzalez Escallon jumped from 38th to 16th on the money list with $31,053. The top 10 at the end of the season will earn LPGA Tour cards.
McDonald also earned a spot in The Evian. She birdied her final hole Saturday for a 66.