PGA Tour 2010 Kicks Off In Familiar Fashion

It may be a new year, but so far 2010 looks exactly the same as 2009.
Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy fired a stellar final-round -6, 67 to hold off a hard-charging Rory Sabbatini and successfully defend the SBS Championship in Hawaii, Sunday.

Although it was not in the same dominating fashion as last season when Ogilvy cruised to a six-shot win over Anthony Kim on the Kapalua course, the victory makes him the seventh player in the history of the event to successfully defend as champion, and the first since fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby made the tournament his own from 2004-6.

“I like the golf course, I think it’s fair to say,” Ogilvy joked following the win.

Despite a near-flawless final 18 holes it wasn’t all smooth sailing for 2006 U.S Open champion. Starting the day six shots behind, Sabbatini went on a tear during the final round, rattling off ten birdies including five in a row on the back nine to briefly take the lead from Ogilvy.

But the fiery South African failed to birdie the par 5, 18th hole and had to settle for posting a total of -21.

“I said to my caddie, ‘We need to birdie the last two holes to have a chance,’ ” Sabbatini said. “The situation was you had to keep moving forward to put pressure on him. I had my opportunity, and unfortunately, it didn’t pan out.”

Ogilvy, who teed off over an hour behind Sabbatini, had holes to play with, and he re-gained the lead with back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes. Three pars from there secured him the victory.

“If you beat Sabbo’s score, you’re going to win the tournament,” Ogilvy said. “It’s hard to make birdies when you have to make birdies. I’ve had that situation with a couple of holes to play, but never with nine holes to play. I’m pretty proud of the fact I did it.”

The win jumped Ogilvy ahead of Rory McIlroy and back into the world’s top 10 ranking in 9th place. Just like at the beginning of 2009, Ogilvy is excited at his prospects for the season, but he is wary of over-practicing and over-playing, which he said led to a fast start and a slow finish last season.

“When it’s good, it’s really good,” Ogilvy said with regards to his current form. “I like how I play when I play good, so I’m not concerned about how good I can be when I’m actually playing well, because I think I can hang with most guys. I haven’t shown that I could do well when my game is a little off. I think that’s the sign of a really great player.”

With Tiger Woods taking an indefinite hiatus from the game many of the world’s top players see 2010 as a year to do some damage on the world scene, and Ogilvy is no different. He sees improved consistency as a way to achieve some of his goals.

“I think I need to get to that sort of point,” Ogilvy said. “I think I can. I think I can be a player who can win any golf tournament I play. I’ve just got to work to get through the bad days and bad patches.”

Ogilvy is taking next week off from the PGA Tour and heading to Abu Dhabi for the European Tour event in two weeks. All but eight of the players in the SBS Championship field will island-hop to the Sony Open next week, the first full-field event on the PGA Tour for 2010.

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