Jhonattan Vegas shoots 64 in final round to claim title at RBC Canadian Open
Jhonattan Vegas was glued to his phone.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan walked into the media conference centre set up at Glen Abbey Golf Club in the midst of a video call with his wife and baby daughter, then put the phone down briefly to answer questions from reporters about winning the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday.
As soon as Vegas stepped off the stage, he was back on the phone, speaking with his family in Spanish, celebrating his second PGA Tour win.
“I didn’t have a chance to talk to them after I knew that I had won and it’s special seeing them that happy, enjoying that moment as much as I am enjoying it right now,” said Vegas. “It’s just an incredible moment, just to share it with the family, with the wife, with the people you love and care about. It’s great.”
Vegas birdied the final three holes at Glen Abbey for an eight-under 64 and one-stroke victory. He began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker, and four behind U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit.
Du Toit’s coach, Derek Ingram, who was named the head coach of Canada’s men’s golf team earlier in the month, wasn’t surprised by du Toit’s performance.
“Jared’s been playing great, he’s been trending really well for the past six months,” said Ingram. “A bit of a surprise to be in the final group of the Canadian Open as an amateur, but not surprised that he played well at all.”
Vegas earned earned $1,062,000 (U.S.) and a spot in the PGA Championship next week at Baltusrol in New Jersey and received a two-year tour exemption as well as a spot in the Masters next year.
Although Vegas’s playoff win at the Bob Hope Classic in 2011 launched his PGA career, the Canadian Open victory was more special.
“It definitely feels bigger, feels more exciting because I have a family to share this with,” said Vegas.
“It makes me happier and makes me definitely more excited and definitely gives me more energy obviously to keep playing hard to give it my best every single time.”
After speaking to media, Vegas asked to see the tournament’s trophy again so he could show it to his family by phone and pose for photos. Even as he patiently waited for each picture to be taken, he kept his phone – with his family on the line – in his hand.
Vegas – who will represent Venezuela at the coming Rio Olympics – also dedicated his win to his fellow countrymen.
“Venezuela is a country that is suffering right now, a lot of issues, politically, economically, socially,” said Vegas.
“It’s just a tough place right now, a lot of people hurting.
“So definitely I want to dedicate it to the country because of all the tremendous support that I’ve had from them, even through the rough time they are having right now.”
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., led the other Canadians at the Open with a final-round of 71.
He tied for 49th at 1 under. Amateur Garrett Rank of Elmira, Ont., shot a 76 and was in a group tied at 77th, eight-over par, and Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished with a 78 and ended up 12 over in 80th spot.
Hadwin won the Rivermead Cup as low professional Canadian, but even then he didn’t feel wholly comfortable taking the award from du Toit.
“Little awkward holding this with Jared playing so well this week, y’know, he beat me by eight,” Hadwin said during the awards ceremony. “Not sure I should be holding this, but I’ll accept it.”