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Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Villegas Rallies, Takes Tour Championship In Playoff

ATLANTA - Too far behind to do anything about the FedEx Cup, Camilo Villegas put together a stirring rally Sunday that was good enough to win the Tour Championship in a playoff over Sergio Garcia for his second straight victory. Villegas overcame a five-shot deficit by making six birdies over his last 11 holes for a 4-under 66, then beat Garcia with a par on the 233-yard 18th hole used in the playoff. The 26-year-old Colombian, who had gone 85 starts on the PGA Tour without winning, picked up his second in a row with a finish that brought the gallery to life on a sunny day at East Lake. He birdied the 17th hole from 12 feet to catch Garcia, then twice hit beautiful lag putts from outside 45 feet, once in regulation to finish at 7-under 273, then in the playoff to cap off his tour season in style.
Villegas, who should move to No. 6 in the world ranking today, earned $1.26 million for winning Sunday. "I cannot emphasize how hard I've worked," Villegas said. Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson each shot 69, and each had a chance to join the playoff. Kim, playing in the second-to-last group with Villegas, missed from 30 feet. Mickelson's 20-foot birdie putt stayed above the hole. Garcia missed a 20-foot birdie putt to win, then never gave himself much of a chance on the 18th hole in the playoff. He came out of the shot, and it wound up in deep rough some 30 yards short and right of the flag. His chip stayed in the collar of the green, and a chip to extend the playoff was well short. It was the third straight time Garcia has blown a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour over the last three years, including a six-shot advantage at the Wachovia Championship in 2005 and a three-shot lead in the 2007 British Open. "I doubted myself too much early on, and it cost me," he said. The consolation prize might be the Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average. He came into the Tour Championship trailing Mickelson by one-hundredth of a point, and finished one-shot ahead of him. "Fun way to finish the year, have it come down to the last shot," Mickelson said. What was supposed to be the highlight of the Tour Championship - the FedEx Cup - turned into an afterthought. Vijay Singh effectively wrapped up the $10 million prize two weeks ago, so all he had to do was finish 72 holes at East Lake and sign for the correct score to win the FedEx Cup. "I made one birdie and one bogey. It was easy not to make a mistake," he said. Singh won the first two playoff events to take the drama out of the FedEx Cup for the second straight year.
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