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Thursday, 08 March 2012
Manny Villegas  (Getty Images)
Manny Villegas (Getty Images)

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  • Manny Villegas

Manny Villegas believes that the Challenge Tour’s presence in Colombia this week at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic has given golf in the country a great boost.

The Colombian, who last year played in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup alongside his brother Camillo, is one of the country’s top players and appears at Country Club de Barranquilla on an invite.

While the 27 year old is based in the USA, he was more than delighted to come home to play at this week’s tournament, the second on the European Challenge Tour’s schedule.

“There are a lot of good players here this week and it’s a big event for us in Colombia so it would be nice to have a good week,” said the Medellin native.

“Golf is growing pretty quickly here in Colombia, we have quite a few international events so it’s nice to have another one here and hopefully we can have many more.

“It’s been good because it’s giving a lot of Colombians an opportunity to play well and keep moving forward and go and play elsewhere.

“I think it is attractive, once you get the opportunity and do well you want to keep progressing and if you want to succeed and get to the biggest stages you have to go to places like Europe.

“There are a lot of great players this week and it’s one of the ways to get into the big tours so it’s a great opportunity to have one of the events here in Colombia.”

Villegas played three tournaments in mainland Europe in 2009 after a 10th place finish in a Challenge Tour event in Bogota earlier in the year and he would be delighted to try and build a career through the Challenge Tour this year if he were afforded the opportunity.

“I live in the US but you have to go with what you have and obviously, if I had a good week here I’d like to head out there and try to chase the dream out there,” he said.

“I think The European Tour is a great tour, they have great players and they visit all around the world, which is nice. If I play well, I’ll keep trying to go out and play on The European Tour and see how it goes.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1ARCHER, PhillipENG18-8
T2LLOYD, ChrisENG18-7
T2MADSEN, Morten OrumDEN18-7
T4HAINES, MattENG18-6
T4HANSON, ChrisENG18-6
T4DOUGHERTY, NickENG18-6
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