Brian Keogh in Tucson
Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy sprinkled a little more magic on Rory McIlroy’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship performance when he defeated England’s Paul Casey by 4 and 3 in the 36-hole final at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club near Tucson.
Just over 24 hours after he ousted McIlroy with an immaculate quarter-final show, the 31-year-old Melbourne native proved he is the king of matchplay when claimed the title for the second time in four years in a one sided final.
Not only did he earn $1.4m to top the Race to Dubai standings, he also leap-frogged Padraig Harrington to go fourth in the world rankings and moved to second in the all-time list of WGC winners behind Tiger Woods with three victories following his CA Championship win at Doral last season.
"The whole weekend I played fantastic," Ogilvy said. "I played two unbelievable players yesterday in Rory (and Stewart Cink). Rory 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 is incredible for 19.
"Paul today is a great competitor head to head. The fact that both of us came down on Friday 13th for a practice game is astonishingly co-indicental that we ended up in the final. I've been on the wrong end in this final and it is not a very nice feeling."
The 31-year-old beat Davis Love to win the title on his debut four years ago. And while he lost to lost to Henrik Stenson in the 2007 final and to Justin Leonard in the first round last year, he has an unparalleled 89 percent strike rate in the quirkiest WGC event with 17 wins and just two defeats from 19 matches.
Playing under a searing sun in the Sonoran Desert north-west of Tucson, Casey discovered that the 2006 US Open champion is an implacable opponent when it comes to matchplay.
Long, straight driving and relentlessly accurate iron play gave his neighbour at the exclusive Whisper Rock enclave in nearby Scottsdale a plethora of chances to show off his silken putting skills on the fantasy slopes of the 7,849-yard Jack Nicklaus design.
Some shaky short putting by Casey gifted him the first and sixth holes of a final that drew sparse crowds. But it seemed that no matter what the Cheltenham native threw at the Australian, it was never going to be quite enough.
Casey said: "I threw a lot at him but he didn't flinch. Geoff was very, very impressive."
Ogilvy birdied the eighth and ninth to go four up and only lost the 10th when Casey holed a six-iron from 204-yards for an eagle two.
Retribution was swift, however, and at the par-five 11th, Ogilvy looked turned what looked like a certain loss into a win by chipping in for a winning par five after taking a penalty drop in the desert.
The Englishman rallied to halve the 17th in birdie and then reduce the deficit to three holes at lunch with a birdie at the 18th as they shot approximate rounds of 66 and 69.
But Ogilvy was simply too good for him in the afternoon round and extended his advantage to six-up with nine to play with birdies at the first, fourth and seventh and an eagle three at the eighth.
Casey prolonged his agony by winning the 11th and 13th to reduce the deficit to three holes before it all ended at the driveable 15th, where Ogilvy holed a six footer for a winning birdie three.
In the consolation match, American Ryder Cup player Stewart Cink holed a greenside bunker shot at the last to beat England’s Ross Fisher by one hole.
Cink earned $600,000 (EURO 473,000) with Fisher claiming $490,000 (EURO 386,000). Runner up Casey got $800,000 with Rory McIlroy pocketing $270,000 for his quarterfinal defeat.