Golf

Ogilvy charges back to defend his crown

Whether he's running away from the field or chasing from behind, Geoff Ogilvy has found the secret to winning the season-opening SBS Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii.

A year after winning by six shots, Ogilvy rallied from a two-shot deficit with 10 holes to play with smart decisions and flawless golf for a 6-under 67 and a one-shot victory over Rory Sabbatini on Sunday.

Ogilvy posted his eighth consecutive round in the 60s on the Plantation Course. He joined fellow Australian Stuart Appleby as the only repeat winners since this tournament moved to Kapalua in 1999.

“We knew what we had to do,” Ogilvy said. “I’d never been in that situation. I’m happy and excited to get it done. I needed to make birdies and I did.”

Sabbatini, who started the final round six shots behind U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, ran off five straight birdies on the back nine to seize the lead. He closed with a 63 but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

“I said to my caddie, ‘We need to birdie the last two holes to have a chance,’ ” Sabbatini said. “The situation was you had to keep moving forward to put pressure on him. I had my opportunity, and unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.”

Glover’s bid to win wire-to-wire at Kapalua ended early when he hit into the hazard on consecutive holes and lost three shots. He closed with a 76 and was 14th in the 28-man field.

Puyallup’s Ryan Moore closed with a 3-under 70 after three birdies on the final nine, for a 17-under 275 and a tie for sixth in his first time in the event.

Matt Kuchar lingered without seriously threatening, missing several chances on the middle of the back nine as Ogilvy pulled farther ahead. He closed with a 67 and finished alone in third.

Sean O’Hair gave himself a chance. He was at 20 under, two shots out of the lead, with a chance to reach the par-5 18th in two. But he pulled his approach into the weeds, leading to double bogey and a 68 to finish fourth.

The Kona wind returned, which makes Kapalua a tough start and finish, with birdies available in between and trouble on any hole with a poor shot. Sabbatini breezed through with a 32 on the front nine.

“I was just battling the putter the first three days,” Sabbatini said. “I came out today not knowing what to expect, and the flat stick showed up early.”

Elsewhere

South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel shot a 6-under 67 to win the Africa Open by one shot over countryman Thomas Aiken in East London, South Africa. … Sweden’s Henrik Stenson halved the final match with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee to give Europe an 81/2-71/2 victory over Asia in the Royal Trophy, a Ryder Cup-style event, in Chonburi, Thailand.

  Comments