Ogilvy claims PGA opener
Geoff Ogilvy successfully defended his title at Kapalua where he won the season-opening SBS Championship.
Australian Geoff Ogilvy repeated his season-opening success of 12 months ago in Hawaii when he won the SBS Championship by a stroke – but vowed not to make the same mistakes that led to a slump in form during the height of his 2009 campaign.
The former US Open champion won the 2009 PGA Tour opener at the Kapalua Resort for the previous season’s tournament winners and went on to win the World Golf Champions-Accenture Match Play in Tucson a month later, only to struggle for the rest of the year.
Ogilvy successfully defended his title at Kapalua on Sunday when he won the newly-sponsored SBS Championship, shooting a final-round 67 on the par-73 Plantation Course to finish at 22 under par, a shot better than South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini.
American Matt Kuchar was third of the 28-man field, finishing at 19 under with his compatriot Sean O’Hair in a tie for fourth at 18 under with Scotland’s Martin Laird.
As Ogilvy turned his attention to his 2010 European Tour debut at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in two weeks, the Australian said things would be different from last year.
“I think I learned a little bit last year,” Ogilvy said.
“When the game started going a little bit awry, which it’s going to do in golf – it doesn’t work all the time – I pushed a bit too hard. I went to the range too much, shot too many balls and I was trying to force it back.
“It never came back and that’s obviously not the right way in golf, you have to let it come back.
“But I pushed it a bit and then I got frustrated and it was even harder to get it back.
“I think I learned some good lessons from last year and I think I can do a better job of starting well and continuing on this year.”
Ogilvy started the day one shot back on third-round leader and reigning US Open champion Lucas Glover but as the front runner dropped off the leaderboard – he would eventually finish in 14th place with a 76 – Ogilvy’s new target became Sabbatini.
Sabbatini had given the leaders plenty to think about with a bogey-free, 10-birdie 63 that gave him the clubhouse lead until Ogilvy brought up the rear with his 67 and took the title, the Australian reaching the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead and needing to avoid bogey to prevent a play-off.
Laird had been in contention all week and at 19 under after 15 holes was just three shots back only to bogey 16 and 17 to ruin his hopes of victory.
There was an eagle opportunity at the par-five 18th but the Scot’s long putt just missed right.
Laird’s birdie, nevertheless, bumped him up into a top-five finish at 18 under.
O’Hair arrived at the same score from the other direction, having double bogeyed the last for a 68.
England’s Paul Casey, the world number seven, closed out his week with a third straight round of four-under-par 69 to finish at 15 under par in a tie for 10th place alongside number three Steve Stricker and Pat Perez of the United States and Masters champion Angel Cabrera.
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