Date: September 29, 2008

Villegas storms home

Colombian Camilo Villegas stormed from five strokes behind in the final round before beating Sergio Garcia in a play-off for the Tour Championship. Villegas compiled five birdies in six holes from the eighth on his way to a closing four-under-par 66 at East Lake. Garcia&aposs closing 71 left both players on seven-under-par, one stroke ahead of American duo Phil Mickelson (69) and Anthony Kim (69) in an exciting finish. Villegas subsequently won with a par at the first extra hole, the par-three 18th, after Garcia sprayed his tee shot right of the green and could not get up and down. Australian pair Stuart Appleby (two-over) and Robert Allenby (four-over) finished the tournament well off the pace. “I&aposm proud of myself. I cannot emphasise how hard I&aposve worked,” Villegas said. A disappointed Garcia added: “I just didn&apost play well enough today. I just wasn&apost myself.” “I had a hard time trusting myself although I managed to do it a little bit later in the round.” Villegas, 26, who also won the BMW Championship three weeks ago, is the first player in 11 years to post his first two PGA Tour victories in consecutive starts. But the defeat was the latest in a growing line of disappointments for Garcia, who was pipped to the USPGA Championship in August by Padraig Harrington, the same player who beat him in a play-off for the British Open in 2007. Garcia, who was hoping to become the first player since 1990 to win the Players Championship and Tour Championship in the same year, also lost a play-off to Vijay Singh at the Barclays Championship five weeks ago. After starting the day with a three-shot cushion over his nearest rivals, he drove the ball poorly early in the final round, running up three bogeys in 10 holes to surrender the lead. Garcia fought back with birdies at the 12th and 16th and was back in front when Villegas bogeyed the 16th. But Villegas made amends at the tough par-four 17th, sticking his approach shot to 11 feet and sinking the putt. They both made pars at the last and when Mickelson and Kim missed their birdie putts, it was down to two. Villegas found the back of the green at the first extra hole, 45 feet above the hole, from where he hit a nice putt to two feet and holed out. Garcia, whose second shot came up short in the fringe, subsequently mishit his par attempt, coming up well short, and it was all over. Final Round Scores from The Tour Championship (Par 70) -7: Camilo Villegas* 72 66 69 66, Sergio Garcia 70 65 67 71 -6: Anthony Kim 64 69 72 69, Phil Mickelson 68 68 69 68 -2: Ben Curtis 71 69 68 70 E: Ernie Els 68 73 70 69, Jim Furyk 72 70 69 69, Mike Weir 70 69 71 70 +1: K.J. Choi 69 70 70 72 +2: Justin Leonard 73 69 73 67, Dudley Hart 73 69 71 69, Trevor Immelman 68 73 71 70, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 72 71 70 69, Billy Mayfair 72 71 69 70 +3: Kevin Sutherland 71 71 69 72 +4: Robert Allenby (Australia) 75 66 67 76 +6: Ryuji Imada 75 72 71 68, Hunter Mahan 74 75 68 69, Ken Duke 77 69 68 71, D.J. Trahan 71 72 71 72 *won the tournament via a play-off