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Jhonattan Vegas wins Canadian Open, will play PGA Championship

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Jhonattan Vegas birdied his way off Glen Abbey and waited to see if anyone could catch him. No one could.

Vegas rallied to win the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday by birdieing the final three holes at Glen Abbey for an 8-under 64 and 1-stroke victory.

With his victory, Vegas earned $1,062,000 and punched his ticket to the PGA Championship, the year's final major championship, which starts Thursday at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan Olympian began the day 5 strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker and 4 behind U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit. Vegas had five straight birdies on Nos. 2-6, bogeyed the par-4 eighth and birdied the par-5 13th. He then birdied the par-5 16th, par-4 17th and par-5 18th to post a 12-under 276.

He tied for fourth last week in Alabama in the event opposite the British Open. He shot a course-record 61 in the second round.

"That's the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA Tour,'' Vegas said. "It's a great feeling. I mean, last week, I had a 6-shot lead going into the weekend and lost by 3. I was 5 back starting today and won by 1. It's a crazy sport. You've just got to keep your head down and play hard."

Sunday's performance gave Vegas his second PGA Tour career victory. Vegas won the 2011 Bob Hope Classic. He received a two-year tour exemption and a spot in the Masters next year.

"Starting the round, I knew that if I could get to 12 under, literally that's the number I had in my mind,'' Vegas said. "I didn't know that it was going to be enough, obviously, to win by 1, but I knew it was going to give me a good chance.''

Vegas did some soul-searching after last week's loss in Alabama.

"I had a long talk with my parents. I had a long talk with my golf teachers about what was missing, what was the missing component of the formula to win,'' Vegas said. "Obviously, we had a long talk, a lot of things came out. Came this week with a completely different approach about things, and obviously, it worked out.''

Johnson, Jon Rahm and Martin Laird tied for second. Johnson eagled the 16th and birdied the 18th for a 69. Laird finished with two pars in a 67.

"I played really nicely. I feel like I'm hitting the ball really well," Johnson said. "I'm really looking forward to going into next week. I think the game is in really good shape. Do a little practice on the putting in the next few days over at Baltusrol. But other than that, I'm really confident in the game right now. I feel like everything is going really well.''

Rahm, du Toit's former Arizona State teammate, birdied Nos. 16 and 18 in a 67. The Spaniard was making his fourth start since he turned professional. Rahm tied for third in his pro debut late last month at Congressional.

Snedeker, the 2013 winner at Glen Abbey, shot a 71 to tie for fifth at 10 under. He birdied the 16th and closed with two pars.

Du Toit tied for ninth at 9 under after a 71. He birdied holes 16 and 18. An Arizona State senior from Kimberley, British Columbia, Du Toit was trying to become the first Canadian winner since Pat Fletcher, born in England, in 1954 at Point Grey in Vancouver, British Columbia. Carl Keffer is the only Canadian-born champion; he won in 1909 and 1914.

Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day had a 67 to tie for 14th at 7 under.