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Villegas again starts strong, but can he finish?

Camilo Villegas
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SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Camilo Villegas is accustomed to early-round success this year. Carrying over his good play to the weekend has been the problem.

Villegas shot 5-under 66 Friday at the Open. Following his opening 68, he’s 8 under for the event.

“I played good. I drove it nicely and rolled (in) some putts,” said Villegas, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and 10 of 14 fairways in Round 2. “I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing.”

Easier said than done. Lack of consistency has hampered him in 2013. For example:

• AT&T Pebble Beach – Opened in 67, then shot 75-72 to miss the cut

• The Honda – Opened in 64, then shot 77 to miss the cut

• Byron Nelson – Opened in 65; eventually tied for 48th

• Travelers – Opened in 65; tied for 51st

• John Deere – Opened in 64; finished 71st

The Barclays – Opened in 65; finished T-54

Despite the swoons, Villegas, who is fresh off a four-and-a-half-week stay with family in his native Colombia, has full-exempt Tour status thanks to an 82nd-place showing in the FedEx Cup standings. After losing his card following the 2012 season, he relied on his status as a past champion and sponsor invites to get into events this year.

“You got to have those years,” he said. “You learn a lot. This year I was treated very, very nicely from all the sponsors and tournament directors. I got plenty of starts. I knew the ball was in my court. I had to perform and get it done.”

Which is exactly what he’ll need to do over the final two rounds at CordeValle Golf Club.