Canadian Creighton wins PGA TOUR Latinoamérica event in Colombia
CAJICÁ, Colombia—“This is crazy, surreal,” is how Myles Creighton described the whirlwind of the past two weeks in Colombia, which he ended with a one-shot victory at the Inter Rapidísimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo on Sunday. Trailing by four strokes at the start of the day, the 27-year-old from Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada, carded a 4-under 68 in the final round to secure the tournament title, at 19-under 269, at El Rincón de Cajicá Golf Club, outside the capital city of Bogota.
With the win, his first in 28 career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts, Creighton charged all the way to the top of the Totalplay Cup standings with only two tournaments left to play in the 2022-23 season. He had entered the week ranked 16th in the season-long race that will determine which players move to the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour.
Once again in contention, Austin Hitt walked away with runner-up honors for the second consecutive week. The 25-year-old from Longwood, Florida, posted a 69 on the final day to finish at 17-under. He moved to sixth in the Totalplay Cup standings.
A low-of-the-day 67 allowed Scotland’s Sandy Scott to finish solo third, at 17-under. Ricardo Celia, the only other player to shoot 67 Sunday, finished at 10-under to claim low Colombian honors in a tie for 13th.
George Toone, the Englishman who held a four-shot lead through 54 holes, struggled to post a 6-over 78 that saw him drop out of contention. He ended up taking a piece of the sixth spot, at 13-under. By the time the dust settled, it was Creighton with the victory.
“I got off to a fast start,” said Creighton of his par-birdie-birdie beginning. “When you are four back, to be able to start with a good par, making a nice putt on the first hole, is huge. I didn’t hit a great tee shot on 2. I was in the bunker and laid up and made a nice 15-footer for birdie there. I then made a 30-foorter for birdie at the third. It was a dream start really. I was 2-under through 3 when I very easily could have been 1-over.”
Then, Creighton put together a nice run halfway through the round, making birdies on holes 7, 8, 10 and 12, with a bogey on 9, to rise to 20-under, a number he set as a target. His playing partner Daniel Hudson got in contention, as well, moving to 19-under for the tournament after a birdie on 15. With Creighton bogeying No. 16, a difficult par-3 which he three-putted, he and Hudson were suddenly tied for the lead with two holes left.
Hudson hurt his chances with a bogey on 17 and then dropped into a tie for sixth with a 9 on the par-4 18th, where he hit two balls in the water. Things were down to Creighton and Hitt, who was playing behind, in the last group.
“Walking up 18, after I hit the fairway, which is probably one of the hardest tee shots I have ever had to hit, I found out that Austin was at 18(-under). I figured that if I could give myself a decent look at it, and try to knock in a birdie, I could win it there, but I was able to two-putt and hold on for the win,” added Creighton of the downhill 30-footer for birdie he had to putt over a hump that stopped within two inches of the hole.
Needing a birdie at the last to force Creighton into a playoff, Hitt had to settle for par, another close call for the former University of North Carolina standout.
“I can’t believe it. If you would have told me that I was going to win one tournament this year on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, this probably would have been the last one I would have thought I would have won,” admitted Creighton, who shot 76-75 to miss the cut here a year ago. “I just didn’t play well here last year and just with all the things that have been going on the last two weeks.”
With the backdrop of off-the-course drama, many may have looked at Creighton as an unlikely winner.
When he landed in Bucaramanga for the Colombia Classic presented by Rocha Brothers almost two weeks ago, Creighton found his golf bag battered and his clubs damaged out of a flight from Fort Lauderdale.
With help from local player Ivan Camilo Ramirez and his caddie, who lent him an old bag and some clubs, including a putter that belonged to Ramirez’s caddie, Creighton was able to put together an improvised set of clubs for the two-week Colombia swing. He surprisingly tied for seventh.
“I hit the 5-iron [Saturday], so I can’t say (I played) 12 clubs anymore,” of his improvised, 13-club set. “I hit it pretty good too, so (I played) 13 clubs. I could have used the 3-wood a couple of times, but I didn’t. I don’t know, I think when you lower the expectations golf probably works better.”
The on-loan putter worked wonders, and Creighton says it’s staying with him. “I had been putting pretty bad for the last couple of months, I would say. I worked hard on my putting during the break, obviously worked hard on it, not with this (specific) putter, but it ended up paying off. I putted probably the best that I have putted in a while with that putter, so it’s staying in my bag now,” he said of the arrangement he made with Ramirez’s caddie.
As the new Totalplay Cup No. 1 and close to securing Korn Ferry Tour status in 2024, Creighton is now headed back home to play the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open, which begins Thursday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
“I’m playing the pro-am tomorrow,” he said of his early afternoon tee time. “So, I’m flying tonight to Toronto. I get it at 9:50 in the morning, and I’m playing at 12:30, which I can’t even think about doing right now. Hopefully, I’ll get some sleep on the plane. Obviously (I’m) excited to be there; so cool just to have the chance to play the Canadian Open as a Canadian. It’s going to be awesome,” said Creighton, set to make his second consecutive start in his national open after a missed cut last year (72-74).