LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA | A catchy name and
a big golf game introduced the world to Jhonat-
tan Vegas. Now he can be introduced, among
other things, as Bob Hope Classic champion.
Vegas, 26, in his rookie year on Tour, held
on by his fingernails not only to finish 90 holes
but to hole an improbable 12-foot putt for par
on the second playoff hole for his first career
victory and the first victory by a Venezuelan on
the PGA Tour. Vegas, who played collegiately at
the University of Texas, won on the Nationwide
Tour last year, and finished in the top 10 on that
Tour to graduate to the PGA Tour.
Vegas, who held the lead much of the tour-
nament, lost it with a three-putt on the 90th
hole, which created a three-man playoff for the
title with Vegas, Gary Woodland and Bill Haas.
The three were tied at 27-under 333.
Haas fell out of the playoff with a par on the
par- 5 18th, leaving Vegas and Woodland to settle
things on the par- 4 10th. Vegas hit his tee shot in
the water and hit the green with his third. Wood-
land found the fairway from the tee but bunkered
his second and couldn’t get up and down.
Vegas, who finished with rounds of 64-67-67-
66-69, fell out of the lead for a time in Saturday’s
fourth round. But he finished the day with five-
straight birdies to find himself tied for the lead
with Woodland heading into the final round.
He shot 4-under 32 on the front nine on
Sunday at the Palmer Private course at PGA
West and held a two-shot lead. But a number of
nervous shots down the stretch made that lead
tenuous, especially when defending champion
Haas birdied the par- 4 16th to get to within one
shot of Vegas.
Little did Haas know at the time but he
would have won the tournament outright with a
birdie at the 18th in regulation. After hitting the
green in two, he three-putted for par to fall into
the playoff. Haas shot 10-under 62 in Saturday’s
fourth round to get back into the tournament.
Woodland stayed in the hunt all day on
Sunday, but failed to make par from the edge at
the short par- 3 17th to put him two shots back
with one to play. But a birdie after a poor tee
shot, combined with Vegas’ bogey, got Wood-
land into the playoff.
Ryan Palmer shot a final-round 64 to finish
fourth at 26 under. Brian Gay’s Sunday 62 put
him at 24 under with Kevin Na.
Staff and Wire Reports
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