Vegas wins RBC Canadian Open, earns PGA spot

Jhonattan Vegas rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday for his second PGA Tour victory, birdieing the final three holes at Glen Abbey in Oakville for an eight-under-par 64 and one-stroke victory.

The Venezuelan Olympic player began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker and four behind US Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit. Vegas had five straight birdies between holes 2-6, bogeyed the par-4 eighth and also birdied the par-5 13th before storming in.

Vegas had long finished his round and was on the range when Johnson, Steve Wheatcroft and Snedeker looked to be in contention during the closing stages yet all came up short.

Wheatcroft had a chance to force a play-off on the final hole had he managed to get up and down from a green side bunker. With plenty of green to work with and a decent lie, the shot would usually be straight forward for the Tour journeyman. Instead Wheatcroft bladed his bunker shot across the green into the water hazard.

Wheatcroft’s resulting bogey was his second in a row to close the tournament, and it opened the door for Vegas to capture his win while Wheatcroft settled for a tie for fifth.

Johnson, Jon Rahm and Martin Laird tied for second. Johnson earlier eagled the 16th and birdied the 18th to close for a 69.

“That’s the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA Tour,” said Vegas who played his collegiate golf out of the University of Texas.

“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.”

Jhonattan Vegas Jhonattan Vegas (Credit: Golf Canada)

Vegas earned US$1,062,000 and a spot in the PGA Championship this week at Baltusrol in New Jersey. He also received a two-year tour exemption and a spot in the Masters next year.

“I played really nicely. I feel like I’m hitting the ball really well. I’m really looking forward to going into next week. 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”

Geoff Ogilvy stormed home with the day’s best final round of 63 to finish 9th as the leading Australian.

Jason Day’s preparations for the defence of the Wanamaker Trophy didn’t go entirely as planned, finishing tied 14th with Day’s putting unusually off the boil.

The world number 1 blamed moving from slow greens at Royal Troon – where the green speeds ran at between 9.3 to 9.8 on the stimpmeter – to greens at Glen Abbey which were closer to 13, similar to the speeds that will play at Baltusrol for the PGA, the final Major of the season.

John Senden and Cameron Percy secured top-30 results, with Rhein Gibson finishing in a tie for 32nd position. Stuart Appleby finished in a tie for 38th with Robert Allenby and Rod Pampling also receiving some hard earned PGA Tour cash.