Villegas takes Honda Classic

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Villegas takes Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Colombian Camilo Villegas won his first title since the end of the 2008 season, firing a two-under par 68 on Sunday to capture the US PGA Honda Classic by a record-tying five strokes.

Villegas birdied three holes in a row to seize a six-stroke lead with eight holes remaining, then made bogeys on three of the next five before hanging on, sinking a 15-foot birdie at the 18th to finish on 13-under 267.

“It’s never as easy as you think,” he said. “I played great on the front nine, made a couple of hiccups then got it going at the finish.”

Villegas had not won a tour event since back-to-back 2008 triumphs at the BMW Championship and season-ending Tour Championship. American Anthony Kim charged late in a final-round 67 but settled for second at 272, a stroke ahead of England’s Justin Rose at the $5.6 million event with England’s Paul Casey and Fiji’s Vijay Singh sharing fourth on 274.

Villegas birdied the fourth hole and began his triple birdie run at the eighth. After back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12, the South American star found a bunker off the tee at 13, then blasted a key shot onto the green and made par.

Despite a bogey at the 15th on an eight-foot par miss that trimmed his lead to three strokes, Villegas was able to hold off Kim and match the event’s record victory margin set by 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus in 1977.

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