Ogilvy surges to match-play victory

Geoff Ogilvy took the lead on the 16th hole and pulled away with an eagle-birdie surge for a three-and-two victory over Davis Love III in the WGC Accenture Match-Play Championship final on Sunday, making him the second Australian to capture a World Golf Championship.

Ogilvy, who 10 times earlier in the week watched his opponent stand over a putt that would have sent him home, set a record for playing 129 holes, the most by anyone in the eight-year history of the tournament, which included four consecutive matches that went extra holes.

But he took the lead with a six-foot birdie on the 16th hole in the morning and never trailed the rest of the way in the 36-hole final. Love’s last hope was to make a 25-foot birdie from just off the 16th green in the afternoon, but he ran it four feet by and conceded the match.

“Unbelievable,” said Ogilvy, who joined countryman Craig Parry as a WGC champion. “It’s such a hard tournament to believe you’re going to keep going.
I got lucky the first four days, and the last two games I played very well.”

Ogilvy rolled through a grand-slam list of players, from Michael Campbell (United States Open) and Mike Weir (US Masters) to Tom Lehman (British Open) and finally Love (US PGA Championship).

For Love, it was another lost opportunity. He lost to Tiger Woods two years ago, three and two, and was soundly beaten by Woods in the semifinals in 2000.

On Sunday, his biggest blow came at the ninth in the afternoon. He had won two holes to cut the lead to one-up for Ogilvy, and the Australian was in trouble short of the green. Love’s six-iron sailed into the gallery, and he stomped his foot and clenched his teeth, knowing he might have lost an opening to square the match.

“If I hit a good six-iron, it could have been a different story,” Love said. “But that’s match play.”

There must be something about the last week in February for Ogilvy. This was the one-year anniversary of his first US PGA Tour title last year in Tucson, a time when Ogilvy was ranked outside the top 64 in the world and not eligible for the Accenture Match Play Championship.

The victory was worth $1,3-million, and moves Ogilvy into the top 30 in the world. As he was beating Love, the tour announced this tournament would move next year to Tucson.

“Very cool,” Ogilvy said.—Sapa-AP

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