If you are a huge Camilo Villegas fan, I wouldn’t get too excited about his opening round 65 on Thursday afternoon at The Barclays. The 31 year-old from Medellin, Columbia has had some good opening rounds this year, but has been unable to follow them up with wins. He shot 64 in the first round of the Honda Classic during the Florida swing, and shot 77 on Friday only to miss the cut.
Villegas fought his way through two rain delays at Liberty Golf course on Thursday, and went bogey-free through the 13th hole, getting to eight under par and alone with the lead. On the 12th hole, he made a miraculous flop shop to get the ball within four feet of the cup, and the problem that he has had for the past four years reared its head. He missed the short putt for his first bogey of the day.
He found trouble again on the 13th hole losing his drive to the right side in a terrible lie. He would make his second bogey, and limp in with pars on the final three holes. He ended his day at six under par, one shot of the lead set by Kevin Stadler at seven under par.
Camilo Villegas has opened five tournaments this year in the mid 60′s and his best finish in the other four was a tie for 48th place. Villegas comes into the FedEx Cup playoffs in 101st place. He will need to amass some points at the Barclays because in the playoff format, only the top 100 players will move on to the Deutsche Bank next week.
“A bad round is a bad round,” Villegas said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s second round, third round, fourth round.
“My game is coming back. I’m gaining confidence and I’m feeling better. It’s great when we have the confidence. It’s not so good when you lack confidence. But I’m heading the right direction.”
Gone are the days of the famous poise to line up putts where he gained the nickname, The Spider. Camilo Villegas, along with Anthony Kim were the hottest stars on the PGA Tour behind Tiger Woods when his game took an abrupt left turn. He has spent the past five years trying to reclaim his confidence and tour card by playing out his exemptions where he can, and playing the Web.com Tour when necessary.
Unfortunately, the PGA Tour requires status, and Villegas has lost most of his status, but has been able to show us why he was a premiere player in this league before the golf God decided to punish him for some reason. I would love to see him make some noise in the playoffs this year, and redeem his status. Camilo Villegas was good for the game, and I for one, would like to see him on some weekend leaderboards again soon.