Camilo Villegas is back as one of the better players on the PGA Tour.
The 41-year-old Villegas, who has won 10 times as a pro but not since 2014, shot a second straight eight-under-par 64 to take a two-stroke lead over Matt Kuchar midway through the 17th World Wide Technology Championship at El Cardonal at Diamonte in Los Cabos, Mexico.
“To make a birdie on No. 18 was a good one,” said Villegas, whose last victory on the PGA Tour came in the 2014 Wyndham Championship. “To make a four on that one, it makes dinner taste a little better.
“The pace of play was really, really slow. Sometimes it was a little tricky to focus, but I kept it pretty chill with my caddie and my playing group, and just tried to keep the momentum going on a slow day.
“It was great to start with an eagle and I just kept going from there.”
Villegas, who did not play as much recent years because of the death of his infant daughter, Mia, in 2020, sank a 10-foot eagle putt on the first hole and then birdied the last three to record a 36-hole score of 16-under-par 128.
Kuchar, 45, collected made three straight birdies on the back nine in a bogey-free 65, the second straight day he recorded that score.
“I just love coming to Mexico because the people are so nice South of the border,” said Kuchar, who won this tournament in 2018 for one of his nine PGA Tour victories. “I was looking forward to coming down here again and it has worked out well so far.
“I just played good, steady golf and I feel like my game is in a really good spot. It was nice to make an early birdie today to get off to a good start and I just got comfortable out there after that. It’s got to be the Mexican water, but I just feel so at home here.
“I’ve been feeling good for a while about the state of my game and I’m looking forward to what should be another great weekend.”
Justin Suh of San Jose and USC, winner of the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Championship, made four birdies on each nine in a 65 and is three shots behind in a tie for third with Stephan Jaeger of Germany, who eagled the sixth hole and added seven birdies in another 65.
Will Gordon made eagles on the first and third holes while adding six birdies against a single bogey in a 63 and is four down in a tie for fifth with Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa, who eagled the first hole and added eight birdies in a 64, Chesson Hadley, who had four birdies on each nine in a 66, and Kramer Hickok, who birdied three of the first five holes in a bogey-free 67.
Carson Young had four birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 64 and is five strokes behind in a big tie for ninth with Doug Ghim, who made five straight birdies on the back nine in a 65; Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, who birdied four of the first seven holes in a bogey-free 65; Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton and USC, who birdied the first three holes and had three straight birdies down the stretch in a 68; Matti Schmid of Germany, who birdied three of his first seven holes in another 68, and Michael Kim of San Diego and Cal, who finished his front nine with three birdies in four holes on the way to a 69.
Cameron Percy of Australia, the first-round leader at 62, made three birdies on the last four holes of his front nine and is tied for 16th after a 72, while Patton Kizzire, who won this tournament in 2017, birdied the last two holes to shoot 69 and is tied for 46th.
Brian Gay, who won this event in 2008, totaled 69-71—140 and missed the cut by one stroke, while Charley Hoffman of Poway, the 2014 winner, shot 69-73—142 and missed the weekend by three shots.
This is the first PGA Tour event played on a course designed by Tiger Woods, who was on hand to watch the action after finishing work on the course in 2014.
For complete results and third-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard