Stenson Tops Ogilvy for Match Play Title

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Henrik Stenson, who delivered the winning point for Europe in the Ryder Cup, won a big match for himself Sunday by surviving a roller-coaster round against Geoff Ogilvy to capture the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
In a 36-hole final that featured five lead changes, Stenson closed out the defending champion with back-to-back birdies for a 2-and-1 victory that moved the 30-year-old Swede among the elite in golf at No. 5 in the world ranking.
 
Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson became the third non-American to win the Accenture Title. (WireImages)
Ogilvy's 11-match winning streak was still alive after making two clutch pars to stay only one hole down. Stenson seized control for good with an 8-iron into 2 feet for birdie on the par-3 16th. Needing only two putts from 60 feet on the par-5 17th, Stenson's putt trickled within a few inches of the cup.
 
It was the 120th hole he played at The Gallery, but it was quite a payoff. Stenson earned $1.35 million for his first World Golf Championship win, and first victory that counts on the PGA TOUR.
 
It was a grind for both of them, a long day that began with Stenson tugging a knit cap over his ears in the frosty morning, and ended with the Swede in short sleeves posing with the biggest trophy of his career.
 
Stenson won for the second time this month, both times in the desert -- at the Dubai Desert Classic three weeks ago, and in the high desert north of Tucson where he didn't have his best golf, but it was good enough.
 
'I was struggling big time,' Stenson said. 'I don't know how I managed to get it all together. I couldn't say I was floating around thinking how great I was playing. I was happy I could hang around all day.'
 
Stenson had a 2-up lead after the morning round, then found himself 2-down with 10 holes to play. But he won three of the next four holes, twice with help from the U.S. Open champion. With all the momentum on his side, Ogilvy three-putted from 60 feet at No. 9, then flew the 11th green with a wedge for another bogey.
 
'Things were going my way,' Ogilvy said. 'It was a ridiculous gift to three-putt the ninth. I can't even begin to describe how stupid that was. I didn't do it on purpose.'
 
Stenson became only the second European to win the Accenture Match Play Championship, joining Darren Clarke, who won in 2000. Ogilvy was trying to join Tiger Woods as a back-to-back winner of golf's most unpredictable tournament, and challenge Woods' 13-match winning streak.
 
But Ogilvy was never comfortable with his swing, and it caught up with him.
 
The key for Stenson turned out to be the 334-yard 12th. He bladed a sand wedge to roll in a 25-foot birdie in the morning for a 1-up lead, then blasted out to 6 feet for birdie in the afternoon to take the lead again.
 
This time, Stenson didn't lose it.
 
As badly as Ogilvy faded on the closing holes, he showed why has done so well in this format. The 29-year-old Aussie flew the green on the 13th, only to make a 12-foot par putt to halve the hole. Ogilvy short-sided himself in the bunker on the par-3 14th and blasted out 18 feet by the hole, but again made par to save within one.
 
Stenson gave him a thumbs-up sign walking off the green, then buried him two holes later with the 8-iron that plopped down next to the hole. Even then, Ogilvy didn't go quietly. He followed with an 8-iron to 6 feet, but missed the putt to the left.
 
In the 18-hole consolation match, Trevor Immelman began the back nine with three straight birdies and won, 4 and 2, over Chad Campbell to claim third place and $575,000. Campbell earned $475,000.
 
The tournament put a cap on 7,500 tickets for the final round, although only about half that many fans chased after Stenson and Ogilvy in the afternoon sunshine at The Gallery, when neither played led by two the entire match.
 
The tone of this topsy-turvy match was set in the chilly sunrise hour about Tucson.
 
Stenson won the first two holes by hitting his 226-yard approach into the par-5 first to 10 feet for eagle, and sticking a wedge to 5 feet on the next hole for a birdie that Ogilvy conceded.
 
The Aussie fired back by winning the next four holes, no shot more spectacular than his 3-wood from 296 yards with the wind at his back that rolled a yard past the cup. He completed his four-hole streak with a wedge that one-hopped off the flag at No. 6 and rolled back 8 feet away for another birdie.
 
The first time they halved a hole was with pars on the par-3 eighth.
 
Stenson regained the lead on the 12th hole in the morning, which proved pivotal. He had a tight angle to the flag over a bunker, and it spun back against the collar. Using the blade of his sand wedge, Stenson rolled in a birdie from 25 feet for a 1-up lead when Ogilvy pulled his 5-footer to halve the hole.
 
More momentum swings followed in the afternoon, but not from good golf.
 
Ogilvy won the first two holes and squared the match on Stenson's three-putt. Ogilvy three-putted the next hole, then tied the Swede again when Stenson hit onto a cart path, then over the green and took bogey on the sixth.
 
Stenson fell two holes behind with a three-putt, only for Ogilvy to return the gift on the ninth.
 
Just as Ogilvy became better know by winning last year at La Costa, perhaps the same attention awaits Stenson, whose goal at the start of the year was to get into the top 10.
 
'Everybody out here knows he's a good player,' Ogilvy said. 'People outside the golf world need to see that.'
 
Related Links
  • Match Play Brackets
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”

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    How will players game-plan for Carnoustie?

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:31 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Thomas took a familiar slash with his driver on the 18th tee on Monday at Carnoustie and watched anxiously as his golf ball bounced and bounded down the fairway.

    Unlike the two previous editions of The Open, at what is widely considered the rota’s most demanding test, a particularly warm and dry summer has left Carnoustie a parched shade of yellow and players like Thomas searching for answers.

    Under the best circumstances, Carnoustie is every bit the unforgiving participant. But this week promises to be something altogether different, with players already dumbfounded by how far the ball is chasing down fairways and over greens.

    Brown is beautiful here at Royal Dark & Dusty.

    But then it’s also proving to be something of a unique test.

    Where most practice rounds at The Open are spent trying to figure out what lines are best off tees, this is more a study of lesser evils.

    Tee shots, like at the par-4 17th hole, ask multiple questions with few answers. On his first attempt, Thomas hit 2-iron off the tee at No. 17. It cleared the Barry Burn and bounded down the middle of the fairway. Perfect, right? Not this year at Carnoustie, as Thomas’ tee shot kept rolling until it reached the same burn, which twists and turns through both the 17th and 18th fairways, at a farther intersection.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “A hole like 17 in this wind, the trick is getting a club that will carry [the burn],” said Thomas, who played 18 holes on Monday with Tiger Woods. “If that hole gets downwind you can have a hard time carrying the burn and keeping it short of the other burn. It’s pretty bizarre.”

    The sixth hole can offer a similar dilemma, with players needing to carry their tee shots 275 yards to avoid a pair of pot bunkers down the right side of the fairway. Yet just 26 yards past those pitfalls looms a second set of bunkers. Even for the game’s best, trying to weave a fairway wood or long-iron into a 26-yard window can be challenging.

    “Six is a really hard hole, it really just depends on how you want to play it. If you want to take everything on and have a chance of hitting an iron into a par 5, or just kind of lay back and play it as a three-shot hole,” Thomas shrugged.

    It’s difficult to quantify precisely how short the 7,400-yard layout is playing. It’s not so far players are flying the ball in the air, particularly with relatively little wind in the forecast the rest of the week, so much as it is a question of how a particular shot will run out after it’s made contact with the firm turf.

    As the field began to get their first taste of the bouncy fun, one of the earliest indications something was askew came on Sunday when Padraig Harrington, who won The Open the last time it was played at Carnoustie in 2007, announced to the social world that he’d hit into the burn on the 18th hole.

    “This time it was the one at the green, 457 yards away,” the Irishman tweeted. “The fairways are a tad fast.”

    Most players have already resigned themselves to a steady diet of mid-irons off tees this week in an attempt to at least partially control the amount of run-out each shot will have.

    Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, hadn’t played a practice round prior to his media session, but could tell what’s in store just from his abbreviated range session on Monday. “Extremely baked out,” he said.

    The conditions have already led Spieth and his caddie, Micheal Greller, to conjure up a tentative game plan.

    “You might wear out your 5- and 4-irons off the tee instead of hitting 3- or 2-irons like you’re used to,” Greller told him.

    But even that might not be the answer, as Tommy Fleetwood discovered on Sunday during a practice round. Fleetwood has a unique connection with Carnoustie having shot the course record (63) during last year’s Dunhill Links Championship.

    The Englishman doesn’t expect his record to be in danger this week.

    In fact, he explained the dramatically different conditions were evident on the third hole on Sunday.

    “There’s holes that have been nothing tee shots, like the third. If you play that in the middle of September or October [when the Dunhill is played] and it’s green and soft, you could just hit a mid-iron down the fairway and knock it on with a wedge,” Fleetwood said. “Yesterday it was playing so firm, the fairways really undulate and you have bunkers on either side, it’s actually all of a sudden a tough tee shot.”

    The alternative to the iron game plan off the tee would be to simply hit driver, an option at least one long-hitter is considering this week if his practice round was any indication.

    On Sunday, Jon Rahm played aggressively off each tee, taking the ubiquitous fairway bunkers out of play but at the same time tempting fate with each fairway ringed by fescue rough, which is relatively tame given the dry conditions. But even that option has consequences.

    “It’s kind of strange where there’s not really a number that you know you’re going to be short,” said Fleetwood, who played his Sunday practice round with Rahm. “[Rahm] hit a drive on 15 that was like 400 yards. You just can’t account for that kind of stuff.”

    Whatever tactic players choose, this Open Championship promises to be a much different test than what players have become accustomed to at Carnoustie.

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    Fleetwood: Carnoustie course record won't help at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, but he’s skeptical that his past experience will help him at The Open.

    Last fall, in the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, Fleetwood birdied six of his last eight holes to card a bogey-free, 9-under 63, the lowest score ever at what is widely considered to be the most difficult course in the Open rota.

    No one expects a repeat this week at Carnoustie – not with the conditions this brown, firm and fast.

    “It’s a completely different course,” Fleetwood said Monday. “Shots that you’ve hit have literally no relevance for a lot of it.


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    “It doesn’t do any harm to have played it for a few years. It doesn’t do any harm to have a course record, but it’s a completely different challenge to what we normally face.”

    Fleetwood took a much-needed two-week break after the French Open, deciding to withdraw from last week’s Scottish Open for a bit more time in his own bed. (He said it was his last full week at home until mid-October.) Since his sparkling 63 to nearly steal the U.S. Open, the Englishman said that he’d “run out of steam” but now feels energized.  

    “There’s not really a good reason why I couldn’t do it (this week),” he said. “It really doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past. The only thing they could do is build your confidence and give you examples of what you can do – examples that you can end up there, and you have the game to compete.”

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    NBC Sports Group Kicks Off All-Encompassing Coverage From The 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 16, 2018, 1:25 pm

    Five Past “Champion Golfers of The Year” Highlight Broadcast Team

    Technology Enhancements: Links-Optimized Toptracer, Wind Gauges and Bunker Cams, Including “Johnny Miller Bunker” Along 18th Fairway

    NBC Sports Group’s all-encompassing coverage from The 147TH Open kicked off today with Golf Central Live From The Open, which throughout the week will deliver nearly 50 hours of news and analysis on Golf Channel from Carnoustie Golf Links on the east coast of Scotland. The network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage will feature another 50 live hours being broadcast on linear television (Golf Channel, NBC), spanning from the opening tee shot at 1:30 a.m. ET on Thursday through the final putt on Sunday. An additional 170 complementary hours of streaming coverage will include featured holes and groups, bringing NBC Sports’ overall production to more than 350 total hours surrounding The Open.

    “The Open is unique. Golf’s original championship isn’t just steeped in nearly 150 years of tradition; it features a multitude of storylines that fuel our comprehensive coverage plan,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group. “Fans look forward to the best players in the world conquering nature’s elements – this year at iconic Carnoustie Golf Links – in their quest to become the Champion Golfer of the Year. Our extensive approach utilizes a deep roster of commentators to set the stage leading up to our unprecedented coverage from the first tee shot early Thursday morning through the last putt on Sunday evening.”

    Led by the deepest and most-experienced roster of analysts, hosts, reporters and personalities in the game, coverage will set the scene for golf fans with a focus on key storylines and showcase the unique traditions synonymous with golf’s original championship, culminating in the winner being awarded the iconic Claret Jug and introduced as the Champion Golfer of the Year.

    “CHAMPION GOLFERS OF THE YEAR” HEADLINE BROADCAST TEAM:

    NBC Sports’ live tournament and news coverage will utilize several past “Champion Golfers of the Year,” including NBC Sports’ lead analyst Johnny Miller (1976), as well as Nick Faldo (1987, ’90, ’92) and Justin Leonard (1997). David Duval (2001) and Tom Lehman (1996) are in the field as past champions, and also are scheduled to contribute to coverage. *Full broadcast teams outlined below*

    THE MOST LIVE COVERAGE FROM ANY GOLF EVENT: NBC Sports’ 50 hours of live tournament coverage will utilize more than 100 available cameras and employ several technology enhancements to showcase Carnoustie’s distinct characteristics:

    • “Links Toptracer”: A reverse ball flight configuration optimized for links golf will showcase not only where shots land, but also – given players’ strategic use of the ground in links golf – “Links Toptracer” will track how shots roll out.
    • “Bunker Cam”: Coverage will feature NBC Sports’ popular “bunker cam” technology in a total of eight bunkers on Holes 5, 8, 12, 13 and 18, including in several of Carnoustie’s challenging pot bunkers. For the first time, the network will use the embedded camera technology in the face of fairway bunkers (Holes 12 & 18), including the “Johnny Miller bunker,” positioned along the right side of the fairway on the par-4 18th hole. The bunker is named in his honor after it took him two shots to get out of it during The Open in 1975.
    • Influence of Wind: Wind indicators will be utilized around the course to measure changes in wind conditions in real-time, providing immediate ultra-precise data so viewers can easily distinguish what a player is facing over a given shot.
    • “Playing Through” Returns; Callaway to Feature Custom Creative Content: Enhancing both the viewership and commercial experience, NBC Sports’ popular “Playing Through” split-screen commercial format returns for The Open, ensuring viewers don’t miss key stretches of the action during commercial breaks. For the first time at The Open, Callaway has produced an innovative “Playing Through” 30-second spot featuring 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson. During NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open at Royal Birkdale last year, an additional 200 shots of live golf were shown via “Playing Through.”

    MORE THAN 170 HOURS OF COMPLEMENTARY LIVE STREAMING COVERAGE: Complementing traditional linear broadcast coverage, NBC Sports will showcase more than 170 hours of live tournament feeds being streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms and TheOpen.com. These feeds also will be available as part of DirecTV’s featured mosaic coverage of The Open. The four feeds will include a simulcast of tournament coverage; a “Marquee Group,” for both the morning and afternoon waves of competition; a “3-Hole Channel,” featuring tournament play on Holes 8, 9 and 10; and “Spotlight,” (also available in 4K) showcasing competition taking place on Holes 1 and 18, along with competitor interviews on the range and inside the press center.

    Additional Highlights Surrounding NBC Sports’ Coverage of The 147TH Open:

    • NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer to Contribute from Carnoustie: Golf enthusiast Dylan Dreyer of NBC News’ TODAY will offer contributions from on-site at Carnoustie. Given the extensive influence weather tends to have on The Open, Dreyer’s experience as a weather anchor and a golf fan will provide a unique perspective.
    • NBC Universo Airing Simulcast of The Open: NBC Universo will deliver live Spanish-language coverage of the third and final rounds of The Open, Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22. Third round coverage will air live from 1-3 p.m. ET on Saturday, and final round coverage will air live from Noon-2 p.m. ET on Sunday. Coverage will be led by play-by-play host Miguel Gurwitz alongside analyst Edgar Lopez.
    • Conor Moore, Vernon Kay to contribute to NBC Sports’ Digital and Social Media Platforms:After grabbing the attention of the golf world leading up to the Masters earlier this year, social media influencer Conor Moore has partnered with NBC Sports to contribute to the network’s digital and social media platforms surrounding The Open, including a series of impersonations of top players in the field. Additional social media efforts throughout the week will offer expanded original content, including: a collaboration with British television host Vernon Kay, reports from Golf Channel social media correspondent Alexandra O’Laughlin, and a Lego recreation of Jean Van de Velde’s collapse in 1999.

    NBC Sports Live Tournament Broadcast Team

    Tom Abbott, Notah Begay, Billy Ray Brown, Curt Byrum, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Jerry Foltz, Terry Gannon, Dan Hicks, Peter Jacobsen, Gary Koch, Justin Leonard, Todd Lewis, Jim “Bones” Mackay, Roger Maltbie, Johnny Miller, Frank Nobilo, Jimmy Roberts, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte, Steve Sands, Mike Tirico

    Golf Central Live From The Open Broadcast Team

    Cara Banks, Notah Begay, Steve Burkowski, Brandel Chamblee, Jaime Diaz, Rex Hoggard, Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard, Rich Lerner, Todd Lewis, Frank Nobilo, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte, Ken Schofield

    Morning Drive

    John Cook and Damon Hack on-site at Carnoustie

    Complementary Streaming Coverage Broadcast Team

    Tom Abbott, Cara Banks, Steve Burkowski, Ryan Burr, Curt Byrum, John Cook, Damon Hack, Trevor Immelman, Justin Leonard

    NBC Universo Broadcast Team

    Miguel Gurwitz, Edgar Lopez

    Golf Channel Digital

    Mercer Baggs, Jay Coffin, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner, Bailey Mosier, Ryan Reiterman, Brandon Tucker

    Social Media Contributors

    Vernon Kay, Conor Moore, Alexandra O’Laughlin