Underdog Ogilvy claims Carlsbad Crown
Tournament: WGC Accenture World Match Play
Venue: La Costa Resort & Spa, California
Australian Geoff Ogilvy, seeded only 52nd of the 64 players who began the week, became yet another shock winner of the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa near San Diego.
The 28-year-old from Adelaide, whose only previous US PGA Tour victory was in Tucson a year ago while all the big guns were competing in the Match Play, completed a remarkable week when he beat American star Davis Love three and two in the 36-hole final.
Ogilvy, who had to go to extra holes in his first four games and was four down with four to play against Mike Weir, scooped the jackpot of nearly £750,000.
And by moving up to 26th in the world rankings he can now be sure of a Masters debut at Augusta in April.
He is not the biggest outsider to take the title. Kevin Sutherland was seeded 62nd in 2002 and Steve Stricker 55th the previous year.
For Love it was his second runners-up finish at the event in three years. He lost to Tiger Woods in 2004 and this makes it 29 second places in his career.
Ogilvy lunched one-up after a three-under-par round of 69, then stretched that to three shots with birdies at the 22nd and 23rd.
But with the pair having to wait because of the third place play-off between American Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman and Zach Johnson just ahead of them – they were level with two to play – Love managed to grab the momentum for a while.
Ogilvy chose to lay up on the driveable par-four 24th and paid for it, Love chipping to four feet when the green eventually cleared.
And after a lucky break at the next when his drive finished beside a tree trunk rather than behind it, Love’s par was good enough with his opponent missing from four feet.
It could have gone all square at the 27th when Ogilvy chipped into a bunker. But Love had missed the green and bogeyed as well.
Things might have been very different if that putt had dropped, but Ogilvy had the title in his sights when he nailed a superb long iron to six feet at the 29th – he did not even have to attempt the eagle putt – and made putts of eight and 25 feet at the 30th and 32nd.
Love stayed alive with a 12-footer on the next, but could not do what Ogilvy had done against Weir.
The difference between winning and losing was over £315,000 – and Ogilvy was trying not just for the first prize, but also for his own version of a Grand Slam.
Having knocked out US Open champion Michael Campbell, 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir and then 1996 Open champion Lehman in the semi-finals, he was facing the 1997 US PGA champion.
Aside from the Weir comeback – he won that with an eagle at the 21st – Ogilvy had also been one down with one to play against Campbell and against England’s David Howell in the quarter-finals.
His 128 holes was the most of anybody in the history of the championship.
Love has not won for three years, but at 41 he still firmly thinks he can challenge for more major honours.
His 111-yard pitch-in for eagle to beat Padraig Harrington by one hole in the last eight was the most dramatic moment of the week and will give him encouragement that good things are starting to happen for him again.
Ogilvy said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s such a hard tournament – it’s not completely up to you and I got lucky. It’s pretty special.”
Love stated: “I didn’t hit my irons well. If I had, I could have hung in there more than I did. But he played solidly.”
Final (36 holes): (52) Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) bt (23) Davis Love 3 and 2 (Ogilvy wins £746,997 Love £430,960)
Third-Fourth place play-off (18 holes): Zach Johnson bt Tom Lehman 1-up.
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