Geoff Ogilvy starts PGA Tour's 2010 season just like last year - with SBS Championship win at Kapalua Resort
LAHAINA, Hawaii - Australian Geoff Ogilvy might want to consider buying a home on Maui. The paradise island has been most hospitable.
For the second straight year, Ogilvy has won the opening event of the PGA Tour, the SBS Championship at Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course. The former U.S. Open winner, who fired a 22-under-par 270, played a near flawless final-round 67 to overtake a hard-charging Rory Sabbatini, who finished some two hours earlier.
The tour's opening event featured a field of 28 players who won on the PGA Tour last year. All four major champions competed. Notably missing was Tiger Woods, who is on an indefinite leave from professional golf after the recent scandal involving extramarital affairs. Phil Mickelson was not in the field either.
Sabbatini went to the clubhouse leading the field at 21-under par after a final-round 63. It could have been even better had he managed to better a disappointing par on the 663-yard downhill par-5 finishing hole.
Ogilvy said it wasn't until the ninth hole that he knew what Sabbatini, who started the day six strokes back, had made his push. When he saw Sabbatini's 21-under go up on the board, he knew what waited him.
"I needed to make birdies, and I did. It was fun," said Ogilvy.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort is one of the most unique layouts on the PGA Tour. It's a par 73 that features some of the most dramatic tee shots and approaches that players will see anywhere. The Ben Crenshaw-Bill Coore designed course is carved out of the side of a mountain, which means there's lots of elevation change, especially on the last couple holes.
There are also ocean views galore, and this time of year, whale sightings are common. The course has obviously grown on Ogilvy, and he likes starting his year in Maui.
"The best thing about winning here," Ogilvy said, "is you get to come back again. It's perfect."
The PGA Tour's Hawaii swing
The SBS Championship is the first of several professional tour events in Hawaii. Next week, the Sony Open will be played at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Quite the contrast to Kapalua, Waialae C.C. is a 1927 Seth Raynor-Charles Banks design that is devoid of elevation change. Defending champion Zach Johnson will lead the first full field of the year on the PGA Tour.
The Champions Tour also starts the year in Hawaii. This weekend, a few select players, including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, will be playing on Maui in the Wendy's Champions Skins Game at Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, which is just down the road from Kapalua.
Then next week, Jan. 22-24, the over-50 crowd plays its first official event with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Nicklaus Course Hualalai Golf Club on the Big Island. The tournament features a select field of winners and sponsor's exemptions. Fred Couples and Corey Pavin are expected to make their Champions Tour debuts there.
January 11, 2010