MONTREAL: Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas birdied the first playoff hole on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to win the US PGA Tour’s Canadian Open for the second straight year.
Vegas edged American Charley Hoffman after both finished 72 holes on 21-under par 267.
Vegas was in a bunker and off the green as the playoff opened at the par-five 18th at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario.
But Vegas chipped his third shot inches from the hole and tapped in for the win.
“I knew I had to stay aggressive,” Vegas said of the near-disaster out of the bunker. “I knew I could pull off the shot.
“A little lucky, to be honest,” he added. “Sometimes you need that to win.”
Vegas, one of the longest drivers on tour, arrived in Canada having missed five straight cuts, but Glen Abbey again proved hospitable.
“It’s magic, to be honest,” he said after capturing his third PGA Tour title.
“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 seven, 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.”
In the midst of his title defense, Vegas said he’d been keeping an eye on the turmoil in Venezuela, where deadly violence marred elections to choose members of a powerful assembly that President Nicolas Maduro has tasked with writing a new constitution.
“It’s always on my mind,” the US-based golfer said.
“I have family that live there. It’s my country of birth. It hurts a lot, seeing the country the way it is, seeing a government that treats people that way when they don’t deserve it just to remain in power.”
But Vegas was able to keep his mind on the job, and closed with a seven-under par 65 to overtake third-round leader Hoffman.
Hoffman was on the green in two at 18 in regulation, needing an eagle to win. He finished with a birdie that capped a 68 and forced the playoff.
Vegas, who started the round three shots off the lead, had powered up the leaderboard with six birdies in his first 11 holes.
He had taken the lead with a birdie at 16, but couldn’t find a birdie that would have given him more of a cushion at the par-five finishing hole.
England’s Ian Poulter was alone in third after firing eight birdies in his eight-under 64 for 268.
American Gary Woodland carded a final-round 68 for 269.
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US PGA Canadian Open scores
Leading final-round scores on Sunday from the US PGA Tour Canadian Open at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario (x-wins at first playoff hole, USA unless noted, par-72):
267 – x-Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 66-69-67-65, Charley Hoffman 68-66-65-68
268 – Ian Poulter (ENG) 67-69-68-64
269 – Gary Woodland 70-63-68-68
270 – Brandon Hagy 65-68-69-68, Tony Finau 69-67-66-68, Robert Garrigus 70-69-62-69
271 – Dustin Johnson 67-69-68-67, Kevin Chappell 65-69-66-71
272 – Sean O’Hair 69-68-70-65, Seamus Power (IRL) 68-70-68-66, James Hahn 66-73-67-66, Andres Gonzales 67-69-66-70
273 – Keegan Bradley 67-69-72-65, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 66-68-71-68, J.B. Holmes 67-70-68-68, C.T. Pan (THA) 72-66-67-68, Matt Every 65-68-70-70
274 – Kramer Hickok 67-71-67-69, Martin Flores 66-66-72-70, Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA) 66-70-67-71, Sam Saunders 68-67-67-72
275 – Noh Seung-Yul (KOR) 69-67-71-68, Chez Reavie 67-69-69-70, Harold Varner 69-65-69-72, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 70-66-67-72
276 – David Lingmerth (SWE) 67-70-68-71, Nick Watney 68-69-68-71, Smylie Kaufman 66-71-68-71