Friday, October 24, 2014

Villegas hopes to make lead stand

GREENSBORO, N.C.—First-round leads haven’t been kind to Camilo Villegas lately—or to just about any other quick-starter at the Wyndham Championship.
Villegas figures it’s time for both trends to change.

After opening with a seven-under 63 yesterday, Villegas hopes to keep it going during the second round of the final event before the PGA Tour playoffs.
But early leads have been something of a curse at Sedgefield Country Club. Since the tournament returned in 2008, the only first-round leader to go on and win it was Arjun Atwal in 2010.
And they haven’t exactly been kind to Villegas lately, either.
He held two leads last year but missed the cut at the Honda Classic and finished 71st at the John Deere.
“I’ve also played great rounds and played some good ones after that,” Villegas noted.
“It’s a matter of just coming out here and playing good golf [Friday].
“There shouldn’t be any relationship between Thursday-Friday and Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday,” he stressed.
Villegas hasn’t won on tour since 2010 and only has two top-10 finishes in the last three years.
After pulling out of the Canadian Open after one round, he spent the past week back in his native Colombia for “a little recharge”—leaving his clubs behind in Florida.
“I just thought it was appropriate to hop on a plane and see Mom and Dad and recharge a little bit,” Villegas reasoned.
It helped him make a late charge up the leaderboard.
Starting on the back nine, Villegas had three early birdies before getting even hotter late.
He followed his birdie on the fourth with an eagle on the par-five fifth—putting his second shot about three feet from the stick.
North Carolina natives Webb Simpson and William McGirt had 64s yesterday while Scott Langley, Heath Slocum, Paul Casey, Andrew Loupe, and Martin Laird were another stroke back.
Simpson, the 2011 winner of this tournament, hopes to make an impression on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, whose three captain’s picks are due next month.
Simpson finished 15th on the Ryder Cup points list.
“It’s on my mind a little bit, but there are so many things I can’t control with what the captain does and how other guys play,” Simpson remarked.
“I think if I have a good week this week, not just today but this week, it’ll show that I really want to make the team.
“I want to make a good argument for myself to be a pick,” he said.

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