Four months after sadly losing his 22-month-old daughter to cancer, Camilo Villegas delivered an inspired opening-round performance at the RSM Classic on Thursday.
It proved to be a difficult start for the four South Africans at the RSM Classic on Thursday with Matt Wallace and Villegas taking the early lead at Sea Island.
The Englishman and Columbian both shot impressive rounds of 64 to finish the day on six under par with a share of top spot.
Drawing inspiration from his late daughter, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago, Villegas sunk a 10-foot birdie on the 18th to sign off in style on Thursday.
‘Got on the range and see a little rainbow out there. I start thinking about Mia and said, ‘Hey, let’s have a good one.’ Nice to have Manny on the bag and yes, it was a good ball-striking round, it was a great putting round. I was pretty free all day,’ said the 38-year-old after the opening round.
‘I can’t change the past and since I can’t change the past, I’ve got to focus on the present. It’s not about forgetting because you never forget your daughter. It’s about being in the moment, being in the now and this is my now. It’s not with her, but it is with her at the same time.’
The pair will take a one-shot lead into Friday’s second round with a group of eight players on five under par after the opening round.
Branden Grace, though, finished the day as the highest-placed South African after his opening-round 70 that saw him remain even par for the event.
Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen will both go into the second round on one over par, while Dylan Frittelli, fresh off his impressive performance at last week’s Masters, shot a four-over-par 76 to start with.