Bermuda – It had been nine long years filled with struggles and tragedy, but on Sunday, 41-year-old Colombian native Camilo Villegas came full circle when he fired a final round 6-under 65 at Port Royal Golf Course to defeat fellow Jupiter resident Alex Noren by two strokes to win the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in Southampton, Bermuda. The win was his first since 2014 Wyndham Championship.
He had been planning to attend the second stage of Q-School, but last week when he notched a tie for second in Mexico, he gained entry into the event in Bermuda. Villegas’ last top-10 finish was at the 2021 Honda Classic. He began working with instructor Jose Campra, who instilled new belief, but winning again seemed like a long shot to Villegas. “Nine years, where you kind of stop believing at times, but I never stopped waking up early and putting in the work.”
The tragic passing of his 22 month old daughter Mia (who was diagnosed with cancer in 2020) has been the biggest dose of adversity for him and his wife Maria, who have created Mia’s Miracles, a foundation to help other families dealing with pediatric cancer. “My little one up there, she’s watching . . . she’s where she needs to be after a long fight.”
“She was always a little monkey around the gym, and I noticed she wasn’t being the little monkey she always was,” he said in June 2020. “I don’t know why, I just kind of got a bad feeling…You don’t need 10 doctors to tell you the good news. My wife has been so busy with Mia’s Miracles – it’s become her mission in life – doing all this great stuff to change our kind of sad story to a positive to help others,” Villegas said last week.
The Villegas’s welcomed son Mateo in late 2021, and along with the family healing – Camilo has seen his game comeback around. “There’s a lot of things you can’t control in life, but I guess these two you can,” he said. “The game comes and bites you, so, I’ve been trying to let the game be the game and let my mind be calm and at peace. It’s been pretty good the last couple weeks, so let’s keep it going.”
There may not be a more popular win on tour this year than this one. It’s good to see “Spiderman” return to the winners circle.