Sunday, March 01, 2009

Match-play tiger Geoff

Ogilvy wins $1,4000 by

beating Paul Casey

Geoff Ogilvy won the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play for the second time in four years with a dominant 4 and 3 victory over Paul Casey.
Ogilvy, pictured above after a victory in Australia, the 2006 champion and 2007 runner-up, displayed his match play prowess yet again in the 36 hole final to pick up a cheque for US$1,400,000 with Casey unable to make an impression after a shaky start. Casey's monetary reward amounted to $668,588.
The victory was the Australian's third World Golf Championships title, sixth US PGA Tour victory and fourth European Tour win, sending him to the top of The Race to Dubai. The win also propels him to fourth in the World Rankings, while Casey narrowly missed out on a place in the top ten – he becomes the World Number 13.
Ogilvy now has an incredible career record in World Golf Championships of three wins in just ten appearances, while in the Accenture Match Play he has now won 17 of his 19 ties.
He and Casey had played a practice round together at the new Jack Nicklaus-designed Ritz-Carlton course a little over two weeks ago and their preparations paid dividends as Casey advanced to the final with a semi-final win over fellow Englishman Ross Fisher.
Ogilvy, having knocked out two in-form players in Camilo Villegas of Colombia and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy in previous rounds, defeated last year's runner-up Stewart Cink in his semi-final.
Casey, having never trailed in his matches en route to the final, was four down after 17 holes but gave himself a boost heading into the lunch break when he won the 18th with a birdie.
Both Ogilvy and Casey had won their first events of 2009, Ogilvy at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii and Casey at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Yet Ogilvy looked the most likely to add a second title of the year, getting off to the best possible start after the break when he birdied the first for the second time in the day to re-open a four hole lead.
That margin did not last for long, however, as Casey bounced back to win the 20th hole with a birdie four.
Casey had a 15 foot putt to win the 21st hole but had to settle for a share of the spoils and he remained three down as temperatures in the desert reached the mid 80s.
Casey's putter was getting just as hot as he rolled in a 40 footer for birdie at the 22nd, but Ogilvy simply rolled in his own birdie putt from close range.
At the 25th Casey again laid down the gauntlet, firing in an iron to around 15 feet only for Ogilvy to match it and cash in when his rival missed his birdie putt.
Ogilvy cranked up the pressure even further by winning the eighth with an eagle three and it got worse for Casey as he bogeyed the ninth to go six down.
Casey won the 659 yard 11th having ripped a three wood 302 yards onto the green, Ogilvy conceding his eagle putt.
There were more signs of life when Casey birdied the 13th but Ogilvy closed out the match on the 15th.
Ogilvy had gone 57 holes without posting a bogey.
"The whole weekend I played fantastic. I played two unbelievable players yesterday, Rory (McIlory) is going to be one of the best players in the world for a very long time and everyone needs to remember his name. He's incredible for 19," said Ogilvy.
"Stewart Cink is very hard to beat in this tournament, always up there and then Paul, one of the best players in the world, a really great competitor head to head.
"The fact that both of us came down on Friday the 13th to play a practice game, it's astonishingly coincidental that we ended up in the final, it's incredible.
"I've been on the wrong end in this final, it's not a very nice feeling, but it's a very satisfying week to play well, I'm really happy with this.
"Tucson's been good to me the last week in February for the last three or four years."
Casey was left to rue coming up against such a tough opponent.
"I was out of the blocks fast this afternoon and made three birdies over the first eight holes and still lost two holes, so he played great golf," Casey said.
"I threw a lot at him but he didn't flinch. It was very impressive.
"I didn't have enough, simple as that. I have no excuses, he just played excellent golf all day."
Cink took the third place after winning a tight Consolation Match one up when he edged out Fisher at the 18th hole by holing from the greenside bunker for a birdie three. It weas the third in a row to turn around a one hole deficit.“It was always going to be a tough match,” said Fisher afterwards.
“Stewart’s a great competitor, and his match play record in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups is obviously very strong, so I knew it would be a tough game. And by holing the bunker shot he produced a great shot under pressure when he needed to.”
Fisher exceeded expectations on his debut in the WGC – Accenture Match Play and was rewarded with a handsome cheque for $385,421 and a climb of ten places in the Official World Golf Ranking to 28th.
“I can walk away with my held high and very, very pleases but at the same time slightly disappointed. To finish fourth and to be disappointed, there’s a lot of positives to take out of the week.”
Rory McIlroy earned $212,375 and Luke Donald $110,120.
FINAL (36 holes)
Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) beat Paul Casey (England) 4 and 3.

Stewart Cink (US) beat Ross Fisher (England) 1 hole.



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