Well, it’s not exactly what the PGA, NBC and WGC officials had in mind.
For the casual golf fan, the tournament was over before the weekend even started when Jesus Tiger, Sergio, Paddy, AK, and Vijay were nowhere to be found by round 3. But, if you ask anyone that follows the WGC and match play events closely, it is no surprise that Geoff Ogilvy cruised through the bracket on his way to winning his 2nd Accenture Match Play Championship, 4 and 3 over Paul Casey. It was a great show for the gallery of 100 at Dove Mountain…actually, 100 people might be generous.
Ogilvy entered Sunday’s final round quietly, as always. The Aussie emerged as the TigerBobby Jones bracket winner after eliminating Kevin Sutherland, Shingo Katayama, Camilo Villegas and Rory McIlroy. In his semi-final match-up, Ogilvy beat up on Stewart Cink 4 and 2 as he continued to notch his PUMA belt in match play.
Ogilvy wasted no time on Sunday against Casey as he went up 4 after the first 9 holes. Casey, 0 career PGA victories, tried to make it a game with his 200-yard, 6-iron approach on #10 (PGATour.com). The eagle pulled him within 3 but Ogilvy wasn’t impressed. On the next hole, par-5 11th, the momentum shifted to Casey…for about 10 minutes. Ogilvy hooked a 3-wood into the desert on his 2nd shot. Failing to reach the green after taking his penalty drop, he chipped in from 60 yards and won the hole when Casey missed his putt. After the first 18, Geoff posted 10 birdies, 1 eagle and was up 3 coming down the home stretch.
The $1.4 million pay-day was never in question during the final 18 15 as Ogilvy continued his consistent play. He made shots and putts when he needed them and knew that he didn’t have to win many holes on the back…he just had to play well enough to halve them. I thought Casey played well but had a couple of “bad-timing” chips and putts and wasn’t able to gain any significant ground. Ogilvy just played better. He never trailed during the final 63 holes and his 6-foot birdie on the 15th sealed the win, his 3rd in the last 7 starts. The victory moved Ogilvy up from #8 to #4 in the world rankings and gave him his 3rd WGC title. In Accenture Match Play, Ogilvy now has a record of 17-2. His .895 win-percentage is the highest of any player with at least 10 starts and is better than anyone in match play the last 4 years.
In the hard-fought, 3rd place match, Stewart Cink defeated Ross Fisher on a chip-in birdie from the sand on 18. Cink birdied his final 3 holes after being down for most of the match. For Cink, it is consecutive years in the Top 3 at this event after losing in the finals to Tiger in 2008. Casey’s 2nd place check is the first time he has broken the Top 3 at a PGA event.