GOLF ROUNDUP: Villegas scores emotional PGA Tour victory in Bermuda

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SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda — Camilo Villegas ended a long and emotional drought when he came up with key birdies down the stretch Sunday for a 6-under 65 to win the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, his first victory since losing his 22-month-old daughter to cancer in 2020.

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Villegas went shot for shot with Alex Noren for five hours until all he had left was a tap-in for par for his first PGA Tour title since 2014.

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More than going nine years without winning, Villegas and his wife coped with the death of Mia, who died of brain cancer in the summer of 2020. Villegas was lost on the course and finished last year at No. 654 in the world.

Now he has a two-year exemption and returns to the Masters and PGA Championship for the first time since 2015.

Villegas finished at 24-under 260 to win by two shots over Noren, who never recovered from two mistakes around the turn and closed with a 68.

Matti Schmid of Germany had to make two late birdies for a 67 to finish alone in third, which should go a long way in giving him a PGA Tour card for next year. Schmid moved to No. 120 in the FedEx Cup. The top 125 after the final event of the season next week get full cards.

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LPGA TOUR

Lilia Vu seized momentum early with three birdies and closed with a 4-under 66 to win The Annika for her fourth victory of the year, which allowed the American to regain the No. 1 world ranking and close in on LPGA player of the year.

Vu started the final round at Pelican Golf Club three shots behind Emily Kristine Pedersen, opened with three birdies in six holes and then pulled away with crisp approach shots that set up back-to-back birdies to pull away.

Vu is now 27 points ahead of Celine Boutier for LPGA player of the year going into the season finale next week. Boutier’s only chance is to win next week and have Vu finish eighth or worse.

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It was a devastating end for Pedersen, the Dane who went from trying to capture her first LPGA Tour title to seeing her season finish abruptly. She didn’t make a birdie in her round of 74 and made double bogey on the last hole that knocked her out of the top 60 to advance to the CME Group Tour Championship.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Max Homa shot a 6-under 66 to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge for his first victory abroad.

Homa finished at 19 under for the tournament, four shots ahead of Nicolai Hojgaard to add to his six PGA Tour career titles.

Homa secured the win with a final round that included six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys. He pulled away at the top after consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. Hojgaard — who played against Homa at the Ryder Cup — had four birdies in a bogey-free final round 68.

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Fellow Danish player Thorbjorn Olesen finished third after a 3-under 69.

Justin Thomas, who like Homa was playing on an invitation, finished at 12 under for the tournament in fourth place after a 6-under 66 on Sunday. He also had a 66 on Friday, but shot even-par 72 both Thursday and Saturday to see his title chances diminish.

Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai for the fifth time. He didn’t play in the tournament, but clinched it when Adrian Meronk didn’t finish high enough to make next week’s season finale in Dubai matter.

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PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Steven Alker had to get up and down for par on the last three holes for a 1-under 70 that allowed him to hang on and win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and a payoff of just over $1 million.

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Steve Stricker clinched the season points list before the post-season began. By winning at Phoenix Country Club, Alker finished second in the Schwab Cup for a $500,000 bonus. The 52-year-old from New Zealand won $528,000 for the tournament, his seventh title on the PGA Tour Champions.

Els, who opened with five birdies in eight holes to get in the mix, was one shot behind on the par-5 18th when his five-iron leaked just enough to the right to bounce off the side of the hill and into the water. He had to scramble for a par and a 65.

Ames, a four-time winner this year, birdied the 18th for a 65.

Alker laid up on the par-5 18th, hit wedge over the green and chipped to just inside three feet for his par putt to win by one. He finished at 18-under 266.

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Stricker, whose six victories this year included three majors, had to withdraw at the start of the week because his father was hospitalized in Wisconsin. He still claimed the $1-million bonus with a year so dominant he didn’t play a single Schwab Cup playoff event.

Els finished third in the Schwab Cup and earned a $300,000 bonus, followed by Padraig Harrington in fourth ($200,000) and Bernhard Langer getting $100,000 for finishing fifth.

OTHER TOURS

Ben Campbell of New Zealand holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 4-under 66 and a one-shot victory over Cameron Smith in the Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour. … Shugo Imahira closed with an even-par 70 and won the Visa Taiheiyo Masters by one shot over Taiki Yoshida on the Japan Golf Tour. … Kerry Mountcastle made it through a 10-man playoff to reach the final 24 players in medal match play, and then beat Jake McLeod in the final six-hole match to win the Gippsland Super 6 on the PGA Tour of Australasia. … Mao Saigo closed with a 4-under 68 for a three-shot victory over Ayako Kimura in the Itoen Ladies on the Japan LPGA.

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