Ogilvy cruises to second Match Play title

By Rex HoggardMarch 1, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. ' When Greg Norman concocted the world tour concept in the 1990s ' a notion that was eventually pinched, in form if not function, by the World Golf Championships ' Geoff Ogilvy must have been exactly the type of champion The Shark had in mind.
 
A renaissance man groomed on the classic Australian sand belt layouts who reinvented his game in the American style to facilitate his championship climb. A world player, having played more events outside the continental U.S. than within the American borders the last five months, with a flair for an international stage.
 
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy raises the Walter Hagen trophy for the second time. (Getty Images)
By the time Ogilvy hoisted his second shot at the par-5 eighth hole into the cloudless desert sky during the p.m. portion of Sundays double-header against Paul Casey, the Aussie had already run an international table straight out of a United Nations directory.
 
In order, Ogilvy dispatched the best America, Japan, Colombia, Northern Ireland and finally England could muster at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the latter a rousing victory that will be celebrated in Melbourne, Australia, with only slightly less vigor than an Australian win in the famed Ashes cricket matches.
 
Ogilvy coolly rolled in his 5-footer for eagle on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Clubs eighth, at the three-quarter pole he was 6 up on Casey and for the second consecutive year the 36-hole scheduled final match never reached the 34th hole.
 
Let the debate begin. If Ogilvy, a two-time Match Play champion, isnt the best match play player of his generation hes certainly the preeminent stand in, although the unassuming Aussie would have no part of such hyperbole as he collected his third WGC chalice March 1.
 
Last year I was the 33rd best match play player in the world, smiled Ogilvy, referring to first-round ouster at the 2008 Match Play.
 
Humility aside, its difficult, if not impossible, to ignore Ogilvys growing resume on the world stage, three WGCs, only Woods has more international crystal, and a U.S. Open trophy qualifies as much more than window dressing.
 
There was a particular synergy to Ogilvys 09 Match Play masterpiece. It was here in the Tucson hills in 2004 where the father of two arrived at the competitive epiphany that would propel him into the world order.
 
It was after the (Tucson Open), said Dale Lynch, who has been Ogilvys swing coach since the duos days at the Victorian Institute of Sport. We talked that he had to suit his wedge game to suit the type of courses they play in the U.S.
 
Always a solid ballstriker, the hole in the portfolio was in his short game, which, according to Lynch, started to occupy about 80 percent of his practice regimen. Twelve months later he collected his first Tour title, the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, and the following June Ogilvy won the U.S. Open with the same type of low spin, no divot chip on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot that hed been perfecting for over a year.
 
It was the same type of shot he used to roll through one of the deepest fields in golf at the Match Play. Among his victims was world No. 10 Camilo Villegas, a third-round 5-and-4 walkover, and up-and-coming European star Rory McIlroy, another 4-and-3 rout in the quarterfinals.
 
Curiously, Ogilvy didnt show up at Dove Mountain riding a wave of optimism, despite a season-opening victory at the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
 
Fresh off a tie for 30th at the Northern Trust Open, Lynch figured his man was a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, but during his Friday match with Villegas something clicked. Ogilvy went straight to the practice range after the match to hone his swing, an oddity for a player who still spends the majority of his practice time chipping and putting.
 
It was the first time in a long time Id done that, especially with the possibility of 36 holes on Saturday, Ogilvy said. But golf is like that, you get a good feel, an inkling that something is there.
 
Ogilvy called his 72 holes on Maui his best ever. His 66-hole weekend at the Match Play cant be far behind. He edged McIlroy and Stewart Cink by 2-and-1 margins to earn his third trip in four starts to the Match Play final.
 
On Sunday, he was nearly flawless.
 
By the turn of the morning frame, Casey was 4 down and if not for a holed approach from 204 yards at the 10th the Englishman may have wanted to concede the afternoon 18.
 
Casey ' a member with Ogilvy at the posh Whisper Rock club in Scottsdale who joined his friend for a scouting trip to the Ritz-Carlton course early last month ' cut the lead at halftime to three holes, but he would never get any closer.
 
By the time Ogilvys approach at the eighth hole in the afternoon trundled to 5 feet, his friend was already an afterthought, and Caseys desperate attempt at a comeback on the final nine was little more than a delaying tactic.
 
He just sort of laughs at you and carries on, Casey said. I did enjoy walking down the fairway having a chat with him, when I wasnt pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to beat him.
 
The finale ended on the 15th hole, Ogilvy a 4-and-3 champion, in front of a few hundred hardy fans who braved the desert. The quiet conclusion was a striking contrast to how the week started, with a pre-dawn buzz that rivaled a Beatles reunion tour and the first glimpse of Tiger Woods swing in eight months.
 
Although it turned out to be a short work week for Woods, he looked steady in his debut after season-ending knee surgery last June. The world No. 1 rolled over Brendan Jones in his tune-up match but ran into his match play nemesis, a hot-putting foreigner with competitive blinders in Round 2. This time around it was Tim Clark filling the role, whom Ogilvy only half-jokingly thanked in his champions press conference.
 
Without Woods the field likely took a collective breath, but considering Ogilvys play it might have been premature. Although he entered the Match Play ranked eighth in the world ' a misplaced assessment considering the quality, not the quantity, of his victories ' Ogilvys status among his contemporaries is much loftier than his ranking suggests.
 
When Geoff plays the golf he played today you have to put him in that (top) category, Casey said. He doesnt change. His demeanor doesnt waver, which is a huge attribute, especially in match play.
 
As Casey headed back to the clubhouse lamenting another near-miss on American soil, a spectator wandered by with a Love Kills Slowly T-shirt, the iconic image from avant-garde artist Ed Hardy. Casey must have been thinking so does Ogilvy.
 

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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''