Toronto, Canada – By Mark Lamport-Stokes
KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Australian Geoff Ogilvy overhauled a stumbling Lucas Glover and a charging Rory Sabbatini with intelligent golf over the back nine to retain the SBS Championship with a one-shot victory Sunday.
Although South African Sabbatini briefly led by two on the way to a superb 63 on the Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course, Ogilvy wrested back the initiative with two birdies in the last five holes of the Tour's season-opening event.
Ogilvy earned Australia its fifth champion at Kapalua in the last seven years with a 22-under total of 270 while Sabbatini had to settle for second place despite a spectacular 10-birdie display.
American Matt Kuchar, who booked his place in the elite winners-only field with victory at last year's Turning Stone Resort Championship, finished third at 19 under after closing with a 67.
"I am really happy and excited that I could get it done," a beaming Ogilvy told reporters after making a solid two-putt par on the 18th green. "With nine holes to play, we knew what we had to do.
"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, so I'm pretty proud of the fact I did it.
"That was an unbelievable round, 10 under around there," he added, referring to Sabbatini's 63. "He really wasn't on the map at the start of the day."
U.S. Open champion Glover, who had led the tournament for the first three rounds, tumbled back into a tie for 14th after running up two double-bogeys on the way to a 76.
Glover made his first mistake of the day with a three-putt bogey at the fourth to drop one behind playing partner Ogilvy, who had rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the opening hole.
He picked up his 10th shot of the round at the par-four 17th, where he sank a 13-footer, but was unable to birdie the par-five last for the third day in a row.
"I said to my caddie on the 17th tee, we need to birdie the last two holes to have a chance," Sabbatini said.
"Seventeen was a great hole for me but I had my opportunity and unfortunately it didn't pan out. Still ultimately he (Ogilvy) had to hit the golf shots to win it and he did."
Ogilvy, playing seven groups in front of Sabbatini, birdied the 11th and 14th to draw level with the South African at 21 under before snatching the outright lead with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 15th.
He safely parred the last three holes to secure victory with his eighth consecutive round in the sixties at Kapalua. He also became the seventh player to win the tournament for at least two years in a row.
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)