Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ogilvy three up on Casey in battle

for $1,400,000 match-play jackpot

Geoff Ogilvy took a firm grip on the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play final with a healthy lead over Paul Casey in the battle for the $1,400,000 first cash prize.
Ogilvy, the 2006 champion and 2007 runner-up, was three up after 18 holes of the 36 hole final at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. And the Australian, playing in the final for the third time, was still three up after 22 holes.
"It was a bit of shaky start for me," Casey admitted at the lunchtime break. "Geoff has played very, very solid golf and hasn't given anything away."
That shaky start saw Casey miss from four feet for birdie at the first after Ogilvy had already holed from six feet, the first time at any point this week the Englishman had trailed in a match.
Casey missed another short putt on the severely undulating greens, this time at the sixth to go two down.
Ogilvy increased the pressure by winning the eighth and ninth as well to go four up before the three time Ryder Cup player halted the Australian's momentum in spectacular fashion, holing out at the par-4 10th hole with his second shot from 204 yards for an eagle.
The par-5 11th hole saw a remarkable chain of events with Casey having to lay up following an errant tee shot into a fairway bunker.
Ogilvy was in trouble after pulling his second shot into the desert and the jaws of a cactus, but after a penalty drop hit his fourth shot just short of the green.
Casey still looked favourite but could only look on as Ogilvy chipped in for an unlikely par to restore his four hole lead, Casey's par putt from 15 feet shaving the edge of the hole.
The 2006 US Open champion did see his lead cut at the par five 13th when Casey holed his first birdie putt of the match, but Ogilvy got the upper hand at the par three 16th.
Casey missed a long range birdie attempt but Ogilvy made no mistake from 14ft to go four up once more.
The Australian continued to play aggressively, hitting his approach to the 17th to 11 feet but Casey responded superbly, his approach rolling to within five feet of the hole.
Casey was denied an opportunity to win the hole when Ogilvy sank his putt, leaving the Englishman his putt to halve the hole and move on to the 18th still four down.
Casey gave himself a boost heading into the lunch break when he won the 18th with a birdie three from 11 feet.
“For as bad as I feel about that first 18 it is not disastrous and three down after 18 is not a lot,” he said.
“That can be overcome fairly quickly. I just need to get off to a fast start. That’s the key. If I get off to that hot start and get it back to even, one or two down going into the back nine I will feel good about that.
“What I can’t let happen is Geoff get out there and pick up a couple more holes on me as that would be very, very tough to come back from.”
Ogilvy said: “I played very well. Pretty solid the whole way and made a few birdies. Missed a few putts but made a few as well and can’t really fault the way I played.
“The only bad hole was the 11th where I ended up chipping in for par, so it was a good morning for me.”
England's Ross Fisher was one up after seven holes against American Ryder Cup playeer Stewart Cink in the 18-hole match for third place.



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