Vegas Hopes Ace Propels Him To Match Play In Austin

Vegas Hopes Ace Propels Him To Match Play In Austin

Jhonattan Vegas didn’t win a car for his efforts, but a final-round ace at the Honda Classic boosted his chances of returning to a familiar venue next month.

Vegas made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole Sunday, jarring a 6-iron from 179 yards. The shot didn’t win him the Honda vehicle on display behind the tee, though, as Scott Stallings had aced No. 15 during the opening round.

It wasn’t a scenario tournament officials expected, given that, prior to Stallings, no one had aced the 15th since the event moved to PGA National in 2007.

“I knew that he had beat me to it, but more than a car it’s about playing well,” Vegas said. “It’s a good memory to have.”

While the car would have been nice, Vegas’ focus is on world ranking points. He finished the tournament at 7 under after a final-round 64, and had climbed all the way inside the top 10 when he finished his round.

Vegas entered this week at No. 68 in the world, with the top 64 on March 13 qualifying for the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin. It’s an event with added importance given the time Vegas spent at the University of Texas.

“I’m pushing really hard to make it to Austin,” he said. “Obviously, Austin is a place that is close to the heart for me. I went to school there, have my American mom that lives there. Pretty much where everything started for me, so hopefully I can make my way there.”

Vegas has one more start to improve his standing; he’s in the field for next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship. He’ll sit out the Valspar Championship the following week and hope the standings fall his way.

“That’s a huge event world ranking points wise, so good finishes obviously bump you up,” he said of next week’s start. “I feel like I’m playing well enough to make a good run at it, so we’ll see what happens.”

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