Ogilvy builds 3-up lead through opening 18 in finals

By Associated PressMarch 1, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. ' Geoff Ogilvy had a putt to win the hole eight straight times Sunday morning on his way to building a 3-up lead over Paul Casey after the morning round of their 36-hole final in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Ogilvy, who reached the championship match for the third time in four years, made six birdies and one unlikely par on a sunny morning at Dove Mountain to put himself in solid position for the afternoon.
Casey did not win his first hole until No. 10, when he holed out from 200 yards with a 6-iron. Ogilvy won the next hole after hitting into a cactus, taking a penalty drop into the desert, then holing a 60-foot chip for par as Casey made bogey.
Although the final is 36 holes, no one has come back from more than two holes down to win a match all week. And in the previous 10 finals, the player trailing after the morning round has come back to win only twice ' Jeff Maggert, who was 2 down in 1999, and Tiger Woods, who trailed Davis Love III by one hole in 2004.
Casey came into final match having led in 79 of the 80 holes he had played in the five previous 18-hole matches. He had a chance to become the first Match Play champion to never trail the entire week.
But all that changed quickly.
Ogilvy holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the opening hole, and Casey missed from 5 feet to fall behind for the first time this week.
The Englishman was lucky the deficit did not grow even more.
Ogilvy had birdie putts inside 12 feet on the next three holes and missed them all, but he built his lead when Casey three-putted from the fringe on No. 6, Ogilvy two-putted for birdie on the eighth, and the Australian birdied the ninth from 8 feet.
Casey did not make a birdie on the front nine, but he got back into the game with a 6-iron that covered the flag and rolled into the cup from 200 yards on the 10th hole.
Casey, who won the World Match Play Championship in England in 2006, twice had a chance to gain some momentum.
In a peculiar decision, Ogilvy went for the green on the par-5 11th and hooked his fairway metal into the desert. He found the ball stuck on a bed of jumping chollas, and he left it there so as not to prick his hand. He took a penalty drop some 20 yards back into the desert and still failed to reach the green.
Casey was in a bunker, but only able to advance far enough to leave him 262 yards for his third. He pulled that into a spot that left him no angle at the flag, and the best he could do was pitch to 20 feet.
Ogilvy, however, chipped in for par, Casey missed and the Aussie went back to a 4-up lead.
Oddly enough, the two finalists drove to Dove Mountain to play a practice round together two weeks ago. The 11th hole was the only one they did not play because another group was in front of them.
Casey won the 13th hole with a birdie, and then had a 7-foot birdie putt to cut Ogilvys lead to 2 up, which would have given Casey a big left going to lunch. But he missed the putt, Ogilvy birdied the next hole from 15 feet, and the Aussie again was in command of the match.
Casey at least won the 18th hole with a 6-foot birdie, but he still had a big hill to climb in the afternoon.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.