Rookie Vegas wins Bob Hope
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 Bob Hope Classic | Wrap | 24 Jan 2011
Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas has survived a three way playoff against Bill Haas and Gary Woodland at the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta to win his first PGA Tour title in just his second start as a PGA Tour cardholder.
Unable to determine a winner after 90 holes of regulation play, the event went two extra holes before a miraculous par by Vegas at the par four 10th hole was good enough for the 26 year old to take the US$990,000 winner’s purse.
Vegas had bogeyed the final hole of regulation play but then birdied that same hole in the first of the playoff holes. Both he and Woodland advanced to the second extra hole although defending champion Haas was eliminated when he could only manage a par.
At what would turn out to be the final hole, Woodland found the fairway with his tee shot and appeared to have an even bigger advantage when Vegas pulled his tee shot into the water. Vegas however took a penalty and proceeded to hit his third shot to 12 feet and saved par. Woodland found the greenside bunker with his approach and could not get up and down.
Vegas is on the PGA Tour courtesy of a good year on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 including a victory at the Wichita Open. This was just his fifth ever start in a PGA Tour event but the manner in which he handled the big occasion suggests he will get plenty more winning opportunities.
He is the first Venezuelan to hold a PGA Tour card.
Haas and Woodland tied for second with Ryan Palmer two shots away in 4th position.
The leading Australian was Greg Chalmers who was on the edge of contention for much of the tournament. A last round saw him slip from his overnight to finish in a tied for 11th.
Matt Jones was 29th, Steve Elkington 33rd and Jarrod Lyle 66th.
The PGA Tour stays in California this week but heads south and west for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.