The Loop

Sabbatini: A place bet is the best bet this time of year

January 15, 2010

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Tiger Woods (10) and Phil Mickelson (nine) have the most wins on the PGA Tour's season-opening West Coast swing since the start of the 2000 season. But who has the most seconds?

Would you believe it's SBS Championship runner-up Rory Sabbatini? Those of you who were paying attention during the South African's final-round 63 that pressured eventual champ Geoff Ogilvy at Kapalua last week might remember Sabbatini's final-round 62 at the Sony Open in 2006 that jumped him from fifth to second. Two years later he repeated that jump from fifth to second with a final-round 68 at Waialae CC.

Sabbo's seconds: 2000 Bob Hope, 2001 Mercedes, 2002 Nissan, 2006 Sony, 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach, 2008 Sony and 2010 SBS.

Sabbatini has been a workhorse on the West Coast. This week's Sony Open is Sabbatini's 65th tournament during the season-opening swing since the start of 2000, more than any other player. Kevin Sutherland is second with 60 starts, one ahead of Tom Pernice, Jr. Sutherland and Vijay Singh have the most cuts made (49), although Sabbatini can tie them at the Sony Open. After a first-round 68 that left him T-20, three-back of the leaders, Sabbo is well on his way to making a three-way tie at the top.

The West Coast swing includes all tournaments played in the first eight-weeks of the PGA Tour season with the exeption of the Mayakoba Golf Classic near Cancun, Mexico. Sabbatini won the Nissan Open in 2006.

-- John Antonini