Camilo Villegas of Colombia has come all the way back.
The 41-year-old Villegas claimed his first victory since the 2014 Wyndham Championship by shooting a bogey-free, six-under-par 65 to defeat Alex Noren of Sweden by two strokes in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda.
“It’s tough to put into words right now,” said Villegas, who claimed his fifth PGA Tour victory and first since his 22-month-old daughter, Mia, died of cancer in 2020. “Wow, what a ride, man. I love this game. This game has given me so many great things, and in the process, it kicks your butt. Life has given me so many great things and in the process it kicks your butt, too.
“I never felt so comfortable being in contention like I did the last couple weeks, to be honest. It’s kind of weird, it’s kind of strange. Even when I was in contention back in the day, yeah, a few years ago, 10 or more, I didn’t have this calmness. I’ve got to really analyze what happened the last couple weeks and try to replicate more often.
“The support has been unbelievable. I must have gotten 500 text messages last week and I didn’t even win the golf tournament. I felt the energy, it kept building up.
“ … And, I’ve got my little one up there watching.”
Villegas, who tied for second in the World Wide Technology Championship last week in Los Cabos, Mexico, made four birdies on the first seven holes to take the lead and added two more in the final four holes of his second straight 65 to record a winning score of 24-under-par 260.
Before last week, Villegas was 223rd in the FedEx Cup standings and he played 18 times on the Korn Ferry Tour because he couldn’t get enough starts on the PGA Tour, but now by winning he has except status for the next two years on the big circuit.
Noren, who led after each of the first three rounds in search of his first PGA Tour victory after winning 11 times as a pro in Europe, made five birdies against two bogeys in his 68.
“My wife is close to his wife and I know what he’s been through, and it’s terrible what happened to him and his family, so I’m so happy for him,” said Noren, who led from the first round on after opening with a career-best 61. “I’ve got kids of my own and I can’t imagine. So I’m very, very happy for him and the way he played and the way he’s handled his life after what happened to Mia. It’s remarkable.
“ … It’s just mixed emotions, but overall the feeling I have is that I’m quite pleased with where my game is and I’m looking forward to next week. I just did not have as good a game as Camilo’s today.”
Matti Schmid of Germany made two late birdies for a 67 to finish three shots behind in solo third, followed by Carl Yuan of China, who made four birdies on the last five holes of the front nine en route to a 66 and was one more down, while Adam Scott of Australia, the 2013 Masters champion, eagled the seventh hole and had three straight birdies down the stretch in a 67 to wind up five down in a tie for fifth with Ryan Moore, who birdied the last two holes to cap a 69.
Stewart Cink, who won the 2009 Open Championship in Turnberry, Scotland, made three birdies on the front nine and another at No. 17 in a 67 to finish six strokes behind in solo seventh, while Tyson Alexander birdied the first five holes to kick-start a 64 and was seven shots down in a tie for eighth with Kevin Roy (65), Ryan Palmer (66), Taylor Pendrith of Canada (68) and Vince Whaley (69).
Lucas Herbert of Australia, who won in Bermuda in 2021 for his only PGA Tour victory, closed with a 70 to tie for 30th, while Brian Gay, who claimed on of his five PGA Tour victories in this event in 2020, also finished with a 70 to tie for 37th.
Seamus Power of Ireland was unable to defend the title this week after his second PGA Tour victory and seventh at a professional last season in Bermuda, as he continues to battle a hip injury.
The Butterfield Bermuda Championship was the sixth of seven events in the PGA Tour’s inaugural Fall Series, which will conclude next week with the RSM Classic on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons, Ga.
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