Jhonattan Vegas defends RBC Canadian Open title in playoff over Charley Hoffman
For the second straight year, Jhonattan Vegas entered the final round of the RBC Canadian Open needing a low score to even bring winning into consideration. He did it in 2016 with a final-round eight-under 64 at Glen Abbey Golf Course, and repeated the feat on Sunday, posting a seven-under 65 that was enough to get into a sudden-death playoff against Charley Hoffman, which he won with a birdie on the first playoff hole.
Vegas, 32, began the day three shots off the lead but quickly closed that gap with birdies on four of his first seven holes. It became clear it was going to be his day when on the par-4 ninth, from 40-feet away, the native of Venezuela rolled in a bomb of a birdie putt to tie the lead at 19 under and make the turn in five-under 30.
The former University of Texas All-American added birdies at the 11th and 13th before finally dropping a shot at the par-3 15th, but bounced back with a birdie at the 16th. Unable to birdie the par-5 18th for the fourth straight day, Vegas had to wait in the clubhouse at 21-under 267. Eventually, he'd meet Hoffman in a playoff, and birdie the 18th for the fourth time in five tries this week.
Vegas has put together a solid season, with two top-10s and five top-25s, but the win comes as a bit of a surprise. He came into the week missing his last five cuts and hadn't posted a sub-70 round since the Dean & DeLuca Invitational in May. It's the third victory of Vegas' career, and makes him the first golfer to win back-to-back at the RBC Canadian Open since Jim Furyk did it in 2006 and 2007.
Hoffman, who posted a four-under 68, nearly won the tournament outright on the 72nd hole. The four-time tour winner's eagle putt on the par 5 was tracking all the way, but just slid by on the low side. The solo second is his third top-three finish on the season and sixth top-10 performance on the year.
Ian Poulter posted the round of the day, an bogey-free eight-under 64 that put him in solo third at 20-under 268, one shot short of earning a spot in the playoff. The strong run of form continues for the Englishman, who now has two top-three finishes and more than $2 million in earnings this season.
Finishing one back of Poulter at 19-under 269 was Gary Woodland, who posted a four-under 68 to finish in solo fourth.
Brandon Hagy, making just his 33rd start on the PGA Tour, earned a career-best T-5 finish at 18-under 270 after carding a four-under 68. It's his first career top-10 and now marks the fifth straight event he's played the weekend, the longest streak of his season.
Tony Finau and Robert Garrigus each eagled the par-5 18th to tie Hagy at 18 under. It's Finau's second top-10 in his last three starts and his sixth of the season. For Garrigus, it's only his second top-10 finish, the first coming last week at the Barbasol Championship.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished five back at 17-under 271 after posting a final round five-under 67. The T-8 finish is his first inside the top-10 in his last six starts.