Tricky 18th hole helps Villegas win Wyndham

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Camilo Villegas, of Colombia, hits a tee shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Villegas won the tournament with a 17 under-par 263. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Camilo Villegas, of Colombia, reacts following a putt on the 15th green during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Villegas won the tournament with a 17 under-par 263. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Freddie Jacobson, of Sweden, hits from a trap on the 15th hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Nick Watney hits a tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Camilo Villegas got some help from an unlikely source on his way to his first victory in a while.

The tricky 18th hole at Sedgefield Country Club tripped up his top two challengers.

Villegas won the Wyndham Championship by a stroke Sunday for his first on the PGA Tour since 2010 after Freddie Jacobson and Nick Watney ran into trouble on the final hole.

“I thought somebody was going to get” a birdie on 18, Villegas said.

Nobody who could catch him did.

That gave the Colombian $954,000 in prize money and 500 FedEx Cup points in the final regular-season event.

Villegas had four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, added a birdie on the par-5 15th and watched the rest of the tournament from the air-conditioned scorer’s tent with his caddie.

“I was hoping for a playoff,” Villegas said.

Turns out, he didn’t have to hit another shot, not after the rest of the field struggled late. Instead, he earned his fourth PGA Tour title and first since the 2010 Honda Classic.

He also became the second first-round leader to win this tournament since its 2008 move back to Sedgefield and first since Arjun Atwal in 2010.

Bill Haas (64) and Jacobson (66) tied for second.

Jacobson needed a par on the final hole to force a playoff, but he rolled his 11-foot putt inches past the hole.

“It really sucks when you play solid all day and, you know, I really thought it was my day coming in,” Jacobson said. “All I needed was a solid strike to get up there and good feed in and have a good chance of winning.”

Heath Slocum (67) was two strokes back. Brandt Snedeker (67), Webb Simpson (67) and third-round leader Watney (70) were at 14 under.

Villegas had to wait about 40 minutes after his round ended before his victory was secure.

He closed his round with three straight pars, tapping in from about 2 feet on 18 and hoping it was good enough.

It was — once the crowd thinned itself out.

“When the boys got closer to the last hole, you can get a little anxious,” Villegas said. “You don’t have a golf club in your hand. You can’t really control it.”

Watney was at 17 under and appeared headed for his sixth PGA Tour victory before he ran into trouble on 14 and picked up his third bogey of the tournament and second of the day.

He followed with three straight pars, leaving him needing a birdie on the final hole to tie Villegas.

He had one on Saturday — but couldn’t do it again.

He wound up with a double bogey after his tee shot bounced past a cart path and out of bounds.

“I knew what was at stake, and I pushed it a little bit,” Watley said. “Extremely disappointed. If you said at any point, you birdie (the) last hole, you’re in a playoff, you would take it. … That was really a bad shot at a really bad time.”

That came after Jacobson also couldn’t catch Villegas.

The other main subplot here this week was the last-gasp push for spots in the PGA Tour’s playoffs, which begin next week at The Barclays in New Jersey.

Slocum, who arrived at No. 158 on the points list, was briefly at 17 under but slipped off the pace by closing with two bogeys that also helped keep him out of The Barclays field. He finished at No. 129.

Martin Laird, who was at No. 136, was near the lead all weekend but his tie for 14th could only propel him to No. 127.

Paul Casey, 125th at the start of the week, tied for 18th to put himself safely in the field. Sang-Moon Bae played his way into the playoffs with a tie for 14th that moved him to No. 120. Jhonattan Vegas was at No. 124 but kept himself securely in the field with his tie for eighth.

“The goal was definitely to move on to next week,” Vegas said. “Mission accomplished.”

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Associated Press

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