Golf

Sunday, April 14, 2024
Scheffler leads by 1; Tiger disappoints his massive gallery . . .

    Saturday is known as moving day in professional golf, and there may never have been a moving day like yesterday at Augusta.

    Scottie Scheffler wound up the day with a one stroke lead in the Masters after he posted a 1-under-par 71; he begins today at 7 under. Collin Morikawa's impressive 3-under 69 put him second at 6 under, one ahead of Max Homa, who shot 1-over 73. Fourth belongs to Ludvig Aberg at 4 under after a 2-under-70 (who in his ancestry decided it was pronounced O-berg). He's followed in fifth by Bryson DeChambeau, who began the day leading under and ended at 3 under after a sloppy 75. 

    At one time or another during the round, they all spent time on the lead, or tied, or close to it.

    After the wind killed many rounds on Friday, the cut line ballooned to plus six, and a host of big guns didn't make it, including Dustin Johnson (+13), Fred Couples (+12), Bubba Watson (+10), Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman (+9), Viktor Hovland (+8), and Mike Weir, Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas, all at plus 7. 

    Gator Camilo Villegas made the cut at 5 over, as did Seminole Brooks Koepka , at 2 over. However, yesterday they both shot 76 and out of contention for a high finish. 

    And then there was a fella named Tiger. After making the cut with ease at 1 over (73-72), golf's No. 1 ambassador  imploded yesterday with a career high 10-over-par 82 and left the networks with one less major story. He dropped from a tie for 22nd into a tie for 53rd.  

    Even with only a one-stroke lead going in, Scheffler has to be the choice today, but after moving day's problems, it's really anybody's guess. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Tiger is still the the No. 1 attraction . . .

    The Masters has drawn perhaps the most diverse field in recent memory, with the best players participating from the PGA Tour, LIV Tour and Champions Tour, plus Tiger Woods himself. Like the recent WNBA playoff game, it could set records for on-course and TV viewing.

    Tiger, of course, will be the main attraction, but among the LIV group are such former PGA guns as Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and ex-Seminole Brooks Koepka. The seniors include Fred Couples, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh and Mike Weir.  The PGA contingent includes No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama. No. 4 Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy. It's a golf fans' dream four days at legendary Augusta National.

    There's even a Gator in the mix - Camilo Villegas, whose prep last week at the Valero Texas Open fell flat; he shot 7-76 and missed the cut.

    Akshay Bhatia won in Texas in a playoff with Denny McCarthy when Denny hit his second in the water on the par-5 18th. Bhatia was in compete command all the way on Sunday until Denny birdied nine of the last 10 holes to equal Bhatia's 20 under par. Bhatia moved up to 12th in the rankings and took $1,656,000 with him to Augusta.  

    

    

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Villegas, Horschel and Alexander shoot for the rich prize . . .

    The last Gator to win on the PGA Tour was Camilo Villegas in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in November. Since then, the Colombian hasn't been the same, adding a bunch of missed cuts and way down-the-list finishes.

    Camilo will try again starting tomorrow in the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, along with two other Gators, Billy Horschel and Tyson Alexander. Camilo missed the cut at last week's Texas Children's Houston Open with rounds of 73-82, and he's only made three cuts in 2024 with earnings of $94,964. But he won't need a gofundme effort on his behalf since he's earned $22,882,415 since joining the Tour.

    Horschel, on the other hand. whose lifetime earnings have reached a gaudy $35,972,854, is in top form as witnessed by his tie for seventh in the Valero (71-68-67-64-270) and a check for $276,412, which ballooned his 2024 haul to $790,194. He's cashed in five events so far and his Sunday 64 was the best round of the day.

    Tyson had a monumental rookie year in 2022-2023 with earnings of more than $1 million, but so far hasn't been able to duplicate that season. He put together rounds of 70-67-76-68, and the poor third round was responsible for a tie for 64th and a meager check for $19,383. His best this season was a tie for sixth in the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches and a check for $137,250, but even with that healthy cash he's only made four cuts and earned $197,502. 

    The defending champ at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course is Corey Conners, who shot 15 under par and collected $1,602,000.

    Stephen Jaegar (69-66-66-67-268) was the upset winner last week at 12 under par and he took home $1,638,000. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (65-70-66-68-269), who never seems to miss the top 5, was one stroke behind.     

    Daniel Berger will carry the torch for the Seminoles in San Antonio.

Saturday, March 23, 2024
5-way tie at 6 under par . . .

    There's a virtual logjam after 36 holes at the Valspar Championship in nearby Palm Harbor. Kevin Streelman, who led after the first round on the famed par 71 Copperhead course with a 7-under 64, was unable to repeat his heroics with a Friday 72 and is in a five-way tie for the halfway lead at 6 under par. One of the others at 6 under is Stewart Cink, the latest many-time winner who is splitting time playing both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.

    Billy Horschel (69-72-141) is the lone Gator to make the cut, which came at even-par 142. Camilo Villegas shot 76 in round 1 and then withdrew, and Tyson Alexander (71-72-143) bogeyed his 34th hole and missed the cut by one. Seminole Daniel Berger (76-74-150) was never close.   

    

Sunday, March 17, 2024
Trio of Gators all miss the cut . . .

    The Players Championship is geared up for a bang-bang finish today in Ponte Vedra, with Xander Schauffele, at 17 under par, leading by one stroke over Wyndham Clark, who is one more ahead of lefty Brian Harman. Clark gave up the 36-hole lead he had forged by a pair of 7-under 65s, adding a Saturday 2-under 70 for his 16-under 200. Xander took the lead with a 7-under 65, while Harman made a huge jump with his 8-under 64 over the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.

    There are six players within five shots of Xander, but he will be tough to run down if he continues his hot hand. 

    All the Gators missed the cut of 1 under: Camilo Villegas with 73-82, Billy Horschel with 71-74, and Tyson Alexander with 71-74. Senior Steve Stricker, the Champions Tour leader, took time out from the elderly tour but missed the cut with 72-74. 

    The leaders tee off just before 2 p. m., so it will be around 6 when a champ is crowned. 

Saturday, March 9, 2024
First-round double bogey does him in . . .

    Despite making a strong late charge yesterday, it was an early double bogey on Thursday that was enough to knock Ted Potter out of the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. 

    Ted began early Thursday morning with a birdie on his first hole, No. 10 at the Grand Reserve Golf Club. He then made seven pars and another birdie on No. 15, finishing the back nine at 2-under-par-34. Then came a bogey on No. 1 after an errant tee shot led to Ted having to take a drop and falling back to 1 under. But a double bogey on No. 4 put him at 1 over, and a birdie at 7 led to an even-par round of 72. 

    On Friday, Ted was at even par after 15 holes when he birdied the 16th and 17th and finished with a 2-under 70, and 2 under for the 36 holes. But it left him two short of the cut line of 4 under. 

    Also missing the cut were Seminole Daniel Berger, by two strokes, and Gator Camilo Villegas, by one. Joe Highsmith held the halfway lead at 14 under with a pair of 65s, and there was a 6-way tie for second at 12 under

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Ted tied for 59th last year . . .

    The Puerto Rico Open always brings out various groups: including former big-time PGA Tour players who are not riding the big wave anymore, and a slew of newbies looking to break through for a full-time exemption.

    Among the former group is Ocala's Ted Potter, who hasn't been seen in a while after spending a decade or so with the big guns, winning twice and running up more than $6.1 million in prize money. Ted played in this one at Grand Reserve Golf Club (par 72, 7,506 yards) last year and finished tied for 59th at 1 under par, earning a check for $8,664.

    Also among the huge group of "formers" are Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker, Geoff Ogilvy, Sean O'Hair, Jeff Overton, Jason Dufner, Aaron Baddeley, Ben Crane, Ricky Barnes and D. J. Trahan. Barnes tees off with Ted and Martin Trainer in tomorrow's first round, starting at 6:34 a. m. 

    Nico Echavarria is the defending champ; the Columbian won at 21 under last year and collected $684,000. He'll be joined this time by fellow Columbian and ex-Gator Camilo Villegas, a recent winner on Tour. In last week's Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches, Nico tied for 21st at 10 under par. Austin Eckroat won the event that for years was the Honda Classic, and he collected $1.6 million. Gator Billy Horschel tied for ninth at 12 under and Tyson Alexander (68-70-69-66-273) tied for 16th at 11 under.

    Seminole Daniel Berger is also in the entries in Puerto Rico. 

    At Bay Hill, all the remaining elites (who haven't defected to the boring LIV golf tour) are among the short field of 69 honoring Arnie. They include Jusin Rose, Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry.

    Unfortunately, for the average fan, the problem of identifying most of the 6' 2" same-build players from behind makes the TV coverage less enjoyable. Not like the days when Arnie, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Watson, Mickelson and others could always be picked out, no matter what angle the cameras had on them. \

     Of course, the LIV problems go much deeper, but that's a column for another day.    

Sunday, February 18, 2024
Tiger bows out with flu in 2nd round . . .

    The highlight of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera lasted only one round and a few holes when Tiger Wood withdrew on the front nine Friday with a touch of the flu after having posted a 1-over-par 72 on Thursday.

    It left a strong field fighting for the top prize of the $20 million purse, and heading into today's finale, Patrick Cantlay's 14 under par 199 (64-65-70) was two better than Xander Schauffele (70-66-65) and Will Zalatoris (66-70-65), making for the promise of a down-to-the-wire finish

    The 1-2 finishers in last week's WM Phoenix Open, Nick Taylor and Charley Hoffman, were never close, Taylor at 4 under and Hoffman at two over. Jordan Spieth was disqualified after signing a wrong scorecard. 

    There were no Gators or Seminoles in the short, but elite field, which began with 70 players.

    

Monday, February 12, 2024
Defends his 2023 crown . . .

By the Marion County Golf Association

  Brent Dorman successfully defended his Marion Masters Senior title. The 36-hole tournament, which is for Marion County residents who are least 50 years old, finished at Ocala Golf Club.

    Dorman shot a final round 4-under-par 68 which gave him two-day total of 4-under-par 140. Finishing in second was Steve Humphrey who was also under par. Humphrey, who finished second nationally for Super Senior Amateur in 2023, shot a 1-under par 143. In third place was Tommy Lowe with a 148 score. Fourth place was Jeff Morley at 149 and tied for fifth were Richie Crile and Scott Goldbach with 150s.

    Winning the Super Senior Division was Jeff Faulkner, who shot back-to-back 3-under-par 69’s for a 6-under-par 138 total. Coming in second place was Robert Parmar with a 2-under-par 142. Tied for third were Phillip Yancey and Bob Bailey with 145. Bill Zylstra was alone in fifth with a 147 total.

    In separate division play, it was Dorman winning the 50-59 title with his 140 finish followed by Richie Crile and Scot Goldbach at 150. In fourth place was Lyle Livengood with a 152 and Paul Irvin was fifth with 155.

    Winning the Silver Senior Division (60-64) was Humphrey with his 143 followed by Lowe at 148. Third place went to Morley at 149 and finishing in a tie for fifth was Bill Knapp and John McLeod at 150.

    In the 65-69 Super Senior Division Faulkner topped the list with his 138 followed by Parmar at 142, Yancey at 145, Dave Falcone with 150 and David Mears at 152.

    In the Golden Seniors Division (70-74) Bailey was first at 145 with a Zylstra second at 147. Jim Prendergast was third at 148 with Mike Arminio and Laurie Harrison tied for fifth at 150.

    There was a tie for the top spot in the Legends (75+). Randy Briggs and Ron Russo ended up with 155 scores. Briggs shot 78-77 and Russo shot 76-79. Finishing third was Tom Stephenson at 157 (83-74) and Dick McDonough was fourth with 162 (88-74).

CHIP SHOTS – Several participants shot their age in the tournament. Dick McDonough (75) shot 74, Bob Bailey (71) shot 69, Bill Zylstra (72) shot 71, Mike Armino (74) shot 71 Robert Parmar (69) shot 67, Jim Prendergast (72) shot 72, Tom Stephenson (76) posted a 74 and Ron Russo (80) shot 76 and 79.

Monday, February 12, 2024
He hasn't played since last April . . .

    Tiger hasn't teed it up since last April at The Masters and he'll make his return this week in the tournament he's affiliated with, the Genesis Invitational at famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. With Tiger in the fold, huge crowds can be expected to swarm over the par-71, 7,322-yard layout.

    There is no defending champ since last year's winner, Jon Rahm, defected to the not-doing-so-well LIV golf tour. Rahm shot 17 under par and collected $3.6 million, obviously not enough to satisfy his rich tastes. Runner-up Max Homa, who was 15 under and earned $2,180,000, is returning, along with third-place Patrick Cantlay (14 under, $1,380,000) and fourth-place Will Zalatoris (13 under, $980,000). 

    Also in the top-flight field are Nick Taylor and Charley Hoffman, 1-2 in the WM Phoenix Open, which wound up yesterday. Hoffman, 47, hadn't won since 2016 and appeared to be on his way to breaking that streak until Taylor made some late birdies, and they finished in a tie at 21 under par. Taylor then birdied the second playoff hole to take home the $1,584,000 top prize, while Hoffman banked $959,000.

    Seminole Daniel Berger, recently returned to the tour, finished tied for 28th at 8 under and collected $53,000. Gator Billy Horschel's 6 under tied for 41st and was good for $30,404, while Tyson Alexander tied for 53rd at 4 under and took home $20,529. In the recent Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Tyson tied for 48th at 3 under and earned $22,821. Camilo Villegas missed the cut of 2 under par by one stroke.

    There are no Gators or Seminoles playing this week.

    

    

Tuesday, January 30, 2024
No Gators are entered, either . . .

    Ted Potter won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2018, and a couple of years later, after losing his PGA Tour exemption, he was still able to play in the California event due to his status as a past champion. The popular tournament kicks off Thursday, and this time Ted is not entered. In last year's event, he shot 4 over par and missed the 54-hole cut. 

    Justin Rose is the defending champion - he toured the Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Club in 18 under par last year and took home a cool $1,620,000.

    There are no Gators playing, Tyson Alexander opted out after tying for 48th last year and earning $22,821, and Camilo Villegas began the week as the fifth alternate so his chances of getting in are slim.   

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
But runner-up takes home $1.5 million first prize . . .

    Alabama Collegian Nick Dunlap has to be walking on air, two days after winning The American Express at La Quinta, and becoming the first amateur since Phil Mickelson in 1991 to win a PGA event. But the 20-year-old has to be a mite sad, knowing that the headline writers' nightmare, runner-up Christian Bezuidenhout, went home with the $1.512 million winner's share of the $8.4 million purse.

    Dunlap thrilled the golf world with his 29-under-par performance over the three La Quinta courses, one better than the nightmare. There was a three-way deadlock for third two strokes behind among Kevin Yu, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, who each left with $310,000. 

    Among the Gators, Tyson Alexander missed the cut, which came after 54 holes, at 8 over par, Camilo Villegas tied for 62nd at 12 under par after a final-round 74 - he earned $18,564, and Billy Horschel missed the cut at 11 under par, unable to rebound enough after an opening-round 72. Seminole Daniel Berger tied for 39th and collected $34,020. 

    The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines begins tomorrow with Alexander, Horschel and Berger in the field. Max Homa won it last year at 13 under, good for a payoff of $1,567,000, and runner-up Keegan Bradley earned $948,300.

     

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Grayson Murray wins Sony in a playoff . . .

    The PGA Tour moves to La Quinta, California on Thursday for the second full-field event of the new season - The $8.4 million American Express - to be played over three courses: the Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club and Nicklaus Tournament Course.

    There is no defending champ - last year's winner, Jon Rahm, has moved on to the controversial LIV adventure. 

    There are three Gators ready for action, Camilo Villegas, Tyson Alexander and Billy Horschel, and one Seminole, Daniel Berger, who hasn't been seen for a while. In last week's Sony Open in Hawaii, Camilo missed the cut after rounds of 72-70, 2 over par, and Tyson made the cut with 70-66, added a 72 on Saturday, then withdrew on Sunday. Horschel shot 68-68-68-65, 11 under par, tied for 18th, and earned a check for $106,102. 

    Three players tied for first in Hawaii at 17 under par, and Grayson Murray won it with a nearly 40-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, No. 18. Byeong Hun An and Keegan Bradley both parred the extra hole.  

 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
$8.3 million on the line . . .

    The first full field event on the PGA Tour begins tomorrow at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, following the Sentry Open in Kapalua, which featured only 59 players.

    The defending champion in the $8.3 event is Si Woo Kim, who earned $1,422,000 for his victory in 2023. Chris Kirk, who picked up a cool $3.6 million for his one-stroke victory in the Sentry, will look to make it two in a row. He finished at 29 under in Kapalua, one better than Sahith Theegala, who collected $2,160,000 for second, and two better than Jordan Spieth, who took home $1,360,000.

    Scottie Scheffler, who looked good at the halfway point at 16 under, only reached 25 under by Sunday evening, and tied for fifth, earning $690,000. The only Gator in the field, Camilo Villegas, wound up tied for 50th at 12 under and banked $57,500. 

    Camilo is one of three Gators entered in the Sony, and tees off at 5:50 EST. Tyson Alexander debuts at 12:10 after his excellent rookie season on Tour in which he earned more than $1.4 million, and Billy Horschel goes at 1:20 after a disappointing 2023.  

    

 

Saturday, January 6, 2024
Scottie is 16 under after 36 holes . . .

    The PGA Tour season has begun with the Sentry Open in Hawaii, and the 59 eligible players have ripped up the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua for the first two days.

   Scottie Scheffler, the Tour's No. 1 player for the last two years, holds a one-stroke lead heading into round 3 at 16 under par. Tyrell Hatton, Brendan Todd and Sungjae Im are tied for second at 15 under. There are 22 players within five strokes of the lead so this one promises to go right down to the wire.

    The only Gator in the field is rejuvenated Camilo Villegas, who spent the past several years without an exemption, until he won and finished second in back-to-back events near the end of last season to regain his standing. Camilo is tied for 23rd with rounds of 65-71-136, 10 under par. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Scores by 2 in Mauritius Open . . .

    Ocalan Louis Oosthuizen completed back-to-back wins on the DP World Tour with a two-shot victory at the Mauritius Open.

    His success came at the new La Reserve Golf Club, a course the 41-year-old South African helped to design.

    The previous week, the former Open champion won the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek for his first tournament triumph in five years. "I'm glad I could pull this off this week," he said after winning again.

    "It's sort of a dream come true, being able to play a tournament on a golf course you helped design and end up winning it. Golf is the strangest thing. The last five weeks I've not done a lot with golf, I've  played a few rounds and when I got to Leopard Creek I was working on a small little thing. I started hitting it really good and I know I'm putting well and then I just carried on with that momentum."

    Oosthuizen started out on Sunday with a one-shot lead, but bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes meant he was two over for the round early on. He regained his rhythm and managed six birdies, including on the par-five last hole, to post a round of 69 and finish two shots ahead of England's Laurie Canter.

    England's Daniel Brown finished another shot back alongside Swede Sebastian Soderberg and South African Jacques P de Villiers.

    Oosthuizen's win means that players from LIV Golf have won five of the first six events in the new DP World Tour season.

Monday, November 27, 2023
Musgrave won 2 events . . .

    Martin Musgrave, Tommy Lowe and Robert Parmar won the Marion County Golfer of the Year honors in their respective age divisions, all of them first-time winners of the award.

    The year-long competition included 10 events in which the golfers could accumulate points toward this county honor, finished up with the recently held Golf Central Cup. 

    Musgrave played in every point event, winning two of them, the Marion Masters and Stone Creek Fall Classic.  He garnered 16,750 points for the competition year. Finishing second is a former GOY champion, Matt Giovannelli, with 15,353. Gio won three events in the 2022-2023 season, the Country Club of Ocala Invitational, George Scales Memorial and the final event of the year, the Golf Central Cup. Finishing third was Justin Grant with 10,650 points followed by Ryan Letterly at 7,875 and Riley Owen fifth with 5,817 points.

    The Senior Golf of the Year honor went to Lowe, who also played in every event. Lowe amassed 15,650 points by finishing up near the top in tournaments played and winning the George Scales Memorial. Daniel Owen finished second with 10,200 points but only played in four events and managed to win three of them. Owen won the Bo WIlliams City Am, Stone Creek Fall Classic and the Golf Central Cup. Finishing in third place was Travis Wilemon with 8,525 points. Among his good finishes was a win in the Summer Games. Brent Dorman’s win in the Marion Masters Seniors helped him to fourth place with 8,100 points. Finishing in fifth place was Scott Thul with 8,000 points.

    Parmar’s four wins in the Super Senior Division made him a runaway winner. Parmar amassed 22,875 points by virtue of wins in the Memorial, Marion Masters Senior (SS Division), George Scales and the Doug Oswald Invitational. Berger Warner finished second with 10,755 points. Warner’s points were highlighted by winning the Marion Masters Super Senior and the Golf Central Cup. David Mears finished third with 9,992 points. Bill Zylstra was fourth with 7,967 points and Jim Williams was fifth with 6,775 points.

GIOVANNELLI, OWEN, WARNER GOLF CENTRAL CUP WINNERS

    The Golf Central Cup was the last tournament of the wrap-around-year for the Marion County Golf Association and featured 16 golfers each from the Open, Senior and Super Senior Golf of the Year standing. When the final scores were tallied at Ocala Golf Club, Matt Giovannelli and Daniel Owen were clear winners, but Berger Warner needed extra holes to claim his victory in this one-round shootout.

    Giovannelli shot a 5-under-par 67 to edge Justin Grant by a single stroke (68) in the Open Division. In third place was last year’s winner, Ben Law,with a 69. Tied for fourth place were Daniel Meadow and Bill Searcy with even par 72’s.

    In the Senior Division, Owen fashioned a 3-under-par 69 to top Scott Thul and Jeff Morley who both posted 2-under-par 70’s. Finishing in fourth place was Carl Erickson with a 72 and fifth place went to Tommy Lowe with a 73.

    At the end of regulation play in the Super Senior Division, Warner and Robert Parmar ended up tied as they both shot 4-under-par 68’s. Warner came out on top in the four-hole sudden-death playoff. Finishing in third was David Mears with a 3-under-par 69. Fourth place went to Bill Zylstra with a 2-under-par 70. Alone in fifth place was Bob Bailey with a 72.

Sunday, November 19, 2023
Ted Potter never made it in from alternate list . . .

    Ted Potter made it up to second alternate for the $8.4 million RSM Classic at St. Simon's Island, but that's as far as he got, and his 2023 season ended.

    As far as the Gators are concerned, Camilo Villegas, coming off his first victory in nine years and a second the week before, has posted rounds of 67-70-68-205 for 54 holes, 8 under par heading into the finale, and is tied for 55th. He's tied with Brian Gay, who has rounds of 72-65-68-205. But Tyson Alexander bowed out with 74-71, as did Billy Horschel with 70-72, and Seminole Hank Lebioda, with 75-67. 

    Ludwig Aberg leads with 18 to play at 20 under par, one ahead of Eric Cole, son of former LPGA glamour girl Laura Baugh, who's there watching her son trying for his first PGA Tour victory in his rookie year on the circuit. Eric has played in many events in Ocala over the years.   


 

Monday, November 13, 2023
Popular victory comes nine years after his last . . .

    When Camilo Villegas tapped in a one-footer for par on the final hole to win the Bermuda Championship yesterday, he gazed wistfully toward the sky, and there was probably not a person in the huge crowd surrounding No. 18 with a dry eye.

    They knew the former Gator was communicating with his daughter, Mia, who died of brain cancer at the age of two many years ago. And they knew Camilo has spent years since trying to resurrect his game of old, the one where he won four times on the PGA Tour and accumulated earnings in excess of $20 million.

    Camilo was as cool in the final round as any winner golf fans can remember, as though it was destiny for him to win the $6.5 million event at Port Royal Golf Course, one week after his sharp runner-up finish in the $8.2 million World Wide Technology Championship. He wound up the sensational week with rounds of 67-63-65-65-260, 24 under par, and two strokes ahead of Alex Noren. Camilo banked a cool $1,170,000, while Noren took home $708,500. After sitting out in left field just two weeks ago, Camilo has moved all the way up to No. 75. 

    Camilo led a trio of former Gators across the finish line; Tyson Alexander tied for eighth and banked $177,125, and Brian Gay tied for 37th at 12 under and collected $27,625. 

    Ted Potter wound up at 7 under, tied for 65th, and brought back $13,780 to Ocala. 

    The final event of the season - the $8.4 million RSM Classic at St. Simon's Island - begins Thursday, and Camilo will try to make it back-to-back victories, along with Tyson, Gay, Billy Horschel and Seminole Hank Lebioda. Ted began the weekend as the No. 4 alternate, but by this afternoon had jumped up to No. 2, so there's still a chance he'll make it by Thursday.    

Sunday, November 12, 2023
Camilo is 18 under, and can turn it all around today . . .

    After making the cut right on the line in the $6.5 million Butterfield Bermuda Championship, Ted Potter let it get away on the front nine in Saturday's round 3. Ted closed well on Friday with four late birdies to finish at 5 under par with rounds of 70-67-137, and made the weekend tied for 60th in the field of 82.

    However, Ted began on the back nine Saturday and made two bogeys and a double for a 4-over-39, and fell back to 1 under. With a disappointing finish looming, he revved it up late with birdies at 7, 8 and 9 on the front nine and finished with a 1-over-par 72, 4 under for the 54 holes and in a tie for 75th.

    The par-71 Port Royal Golf Course proved to be not as challenging to the three Gators in the field. Tyson Alexander's 68-67-68-203, 10 under par, put him in a tie for 36th heading into today's finale. Dual Tour competitor Brian Gay's 67-68-67-202, 11 under, has him in a tie for 29th, but it's Camilo Villegas who has the crowd buzzing. 

    After a second-place finish in last week's World Wide Technology, his best performance in quite a while and good for a check for $729,800, Camilo is in a position to win it in Bermuda and regain the exemption he's been playing without for many months. A 5-under-par 65 Saturday, following rounds of 67-63, has him deadlocked for the lead with Alex Noren, both at 18 under.