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Camilo Villegas to take a break

Colombia's Camilo Villegas plans to take a two-week break after narrowly missing out on qualifying for his first U.S. Masters.

The 24-year-old PGA Tour rookie tied for third at the Players Championship on Sunday, falling one stroke short of booking his place at Augusta National for the first major of the year.

"I played well, but I'm a little bit short of one big goal I had," Villegas told reporters after firing a one-under-par 71 in the final round at the TPC at Sawgrass.

"But you know what, I gave it my best. Hopefully there will be plenty of Masters for me in the future."

Masters spots were available for the top 10 in the 2006 PGA Tour money list after the Players Championship.

Villegas, who fired a closing one-under-par 71 at the TPC at Sawgrass, moved up to 11th in the standings, just $94,971 behind 10th-placed Stuart Appleby of Australia.

"This was my fifth week in a row and I am very tired," added the Colombian, who gained a late Players entry after American Chris DiMarco withdrew the day before the tournament with a rib injury.

"I'm not going to play the next two weeks and I haven't thought about after that. We'll see what my plans are."

However his schedule plays out over the next month, the big-hitting Villegas has been riding the crest of a wave in his debut season on the PGA Tour.

He has produced three top-three finishes in nine starts, including two ties for second place, and is the leading rookie in the money list with earnings of $1,246,971.

"It's my first year out here and I've got nothing to complain about," said the fashion-conscious professional from Medellin.

"It's been so much fun, getting to play great golf courses and great tournaments with the best players in the world.

"You try to learn from them to get better and, hopefully, become one of those soon. It's been a fun ride. It's been a fun ride."

Former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, who played with Villegas on the last day at Sawgrass, was impressed by the Colombian.

"He had a heck of a weekend," Furyk said. "He's a good young player who gutted it out.

"The Masters was probably in the back of his mind but the way he plays, I'm sure there will be a lot of Masters tournaments in his future."

The 2006 U.S. Masters takes place from April 6-9.



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