Glover leads SBS; Ogilvy one behind
• Photo gallery: SBS Championship - Round 3
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
KAPALUA, Maui — Maui's golf gods threw all they had at Lucas Glover in yesterday's third round of the SBS Championship. The U.S. Open champion is still standing first.
For the second time in three days, Glover birdied the final hole to grab a one-shot lead. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy is his closest pursuer in today's final round at The Kapalua Plantation course.
Eight other golfers are within four shots, including major champions Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera and Stewart Cink, who birdied five of the last six. With Ogilvy the 2006 U.S. Open winner, half the Top 10 has won a major championship. And Y.E. Yang, last year's PGA champion, shot the low round of the day (66) to leap from 25th to 16th.
Glover went into the third round with a three-shot cushion after torching the surprisingly peaceful Plantation the first two days. Yesterday, he had to contend with some weird wind — even for Kapalua — along with speed problems on the greens and 27 other guys who won last year and were out to chase him down.
Ogilvy accomplished that, bolting into first at 14-under on the ninth hole, during a span of four birdies in seven holes. Glover was behind him, bogeying two in a row to drop to 13-under. He regrouped. After needing 28 putts the first 13 holes, he one-putted three of the last five to shoot 2-under 71.
"Speed was bad all day," Glover said. "I putted off the fringe on (No.) 5 and three-putted two in a row, 7 and 8. It was all speed, all three.
"After I missed another four-footer on 15, I figure d out the problem on the short ones and knocked in a couple coming in. You hate to find something in a round that you need to fix. But I tried it on 16 and it worked. Tried it again on 18 and it worked."
He stands at 17-under 202 for the tournament. Ogilvy (68) is at 203, Martin Laird (69), of Scotland, at 204 and 2004 NCAA champion Ryan Moore (68) at 205. Moore's round was kick-started by a freak 40-foot eagle putt at the fifth.
"I have had absolutely fantastic speed control this whole week and that was the first putt that I hit way harder than I meant to, but it just hit dead center," Moore said. "It was going 15 or 20 (feet by), maybe borderline rolling off the green. It was moving. It hit right in the middle, popped up and went right in."
Glover had his own excitement on a day when gusty Kona winds turned the Plantation upside down and hid Moloka'i in vog across the Pailolo Channel. The gusts then switched for the final hour, to something even the golfers could not describe.
"It was tough," Glover said, "tough to get the ball close, tough to pull clubs. I was backing off, it seemed like every shot. I just wasn't sure. I wasn't committed."
Ogilvy just called it "awkward."
"Awkward because 90 percent of the rounds I played around here are downwind off to the right on the first (hole)," he said, shaking his head. "And the wind generally stays in the same place all day.
"I think it's awkward just because we haven't done it, we don't see it. A little bit harder, but mostly awkward because we don't see it like that."
The fact that the initial wind was similar to early in the week gave the players something to draw on. Glover's problems dealt more with his touch on the Plantation's expansive greens.
He was leading the tournament in putts made (by distance) by a bunch after the first two rounds, when he averaged 28 each day. Yesterday he missed just one green in regulation, but the longest putt he dropped was 7 1/2 feet.
He did not drop out of first, at least not for long. Ogilvy's first bogey in 35 holes — on the 16th — put Glover back in first. Today, he and a few others will try to prevent the Australian from becoming the seventh to defend a title in this event, which started in 1953.
Ogilvy had six fewer putts than Glover yesterday, despite a three-putt par on the 15th. He is 40-under in his last seven rounds at Kapalua. The 32-year-old Australian, who has won $20 million in five years on tour, is looking to make it nine years since an American won this tournament — the longest U.S. drought on tour.
A year ago, Ogilvy went into the last round with a large lead and nearly gave it all away on the front nine before getting it together. He thinks today might be a bit less pressure.
"I never had that on a Sunday before," he said. "It's a different kind of feeling. You think you would be happy with a six-shot lead starting the day. I was actually not so happy. It's awkward. It's a weird feeling."
It has been a weird week. Pretty much anything could happen today, but Ogilvy is sure of one thing.
"You always know you have to make lots of birdies," he said. "I guess I assume that's going to happen again tomorrow.
"There are six or seven or eight guys who feel they can win the golf tournament with a low round tomorrow. I don't feel like I have too much time to feel too much pressure. I know I have to go out and shoot 5-, 6- or 7-under probably."