Defending champion Jhonattan Vegas, the guy they call “Johnny Vegas,” wasn’t the guy most were eyeballing going into Sunday’s final round at the Canadian Open.
Many figured this one would be a showdown between the guys in the final pairing — Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell.
Hoffman hung tough over the final 18 at Glen Abbey, Chappell didn’t. Up ahead of them, Johnny Vegas had it going. He was 20-under for the day with he 16th and 18th holes in front of him. Dressed as par fives, they were really par fours in disguise. Guys were hitting short irons, some wedges into the 18th, same with the 16th.
If you didn’t birdie both, you were getting passed.
Vegas took care of business on the 16th but at 18, he found some scruffy grass past the fringe and hit a thin chip that cost him. He settled for par, posted 21-under then waited to see what Hoffman would do.
Chappell bowed out with an assortment of mistakes, Ian Poulter continued his resurgence with the day’s best round — a sparkling 64 that got him to 20-under.
The Hoff took care of business with birdie at 16 to get to 20-under. At 18, all he had in was a nine-iron and he hit that to 16-feet, giving him a great look at eagle for the win. Vegas watched from inside the clubhouse. Hoffman’s eagle putt narrowly missed, sending things into overtime.
Vegas then showed some guts and went for the green from a fairway bunker after Hoffman found a bunker of his own and laid up. Vegas’ eight-iron caught a bit of the lip, but he hit it well enough to reach the short grass behind the green. Similar shot to regulation, much better lie. Heat on the Hoff. Hoffman botched his third, blowing it into a bunker behind the green. Vegas snuggled his eagle putt to gimme range and forced Hoffman to hole his bunker shot.
He didn’t and Vegas had a second straight Canadian title.
This was an unlikely result for Vegas. The former University of Texas star from Argentina had missed the cut in his last five events leading to Glen Abbey.
“I’m the type of person who never gets down on myself,” Vegas said moments after shaking hands with Hoffman. As for the eight-iron he pulled to go for the green from that bunker at 18 — “that’s my personality, that’s how I play.
“It’s incredible,” Vegas said of his third PGA Tour victory. It was magic, enjoying the moment.”
Canadian Open Final Scores: