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Davis Love III aiming to continue good start

With one eye firmly fixed on the world rankings, Davis Love III is eager to build on his good start to the 2009 PGA Tour at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii.

The former major winner tied for second at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua on Sunday, climbing 23 spots to 54th in the global pecking order.

Having ended last year a lowly 80th in the rankings, he is determined to break back into the top 50 to earn an automatic place at the three elite World Golf Championship events.

“I just need to get a little bit higher,” American Love, 44, told reporters on the eve of Thursday’s opening round at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

“No matter where I get, I’m going to keep saying: ‘I need to get a little bit higher.’ But I always like to move up.

“I’m in the Bridgestone (WGC event) off (my win at) the Disney and I need to get into the other two World Golf Championships because those are the ones that make it a lot easier to get to the Tour Championship.

“If you don’t play in the World Golf Championships, it kills your world ranking because you’re missing three of the biggest tournaments. I missed all three of them last year.”

After a mediocre 2007 campaign ended prematurely with an ankle injury, Love plummeted to 159th in the world rankings before clinching his first PGA Tour title in more than two years at the Disney Classic in November.

Despite taking a break from the game around Christmas, he maintained his form at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui last week where he closed with rounds of 68 and 67.

“I played pretty good last week,” the former world number two said. “It’s just nice to have some confidence and get off to a good start and get ’09 rolling.

“You want to play well on the West Coast and certainly I need to play well quickly to get into the Match Play and into the Masters.

“It’s great to be playing two weeks in a row in Hawaii,” added Love, who booked his place in the winners-only field at Kapalua with his Disney triumph.

“Obviously it was great to be in Mercedes and that means you get to spend two weeks over here and play the Sony as well.

“Just because you feel like you should be in the top 10 or have a chance to win, saying it and doing it are two different things. The momentum and the confirmation were important, certainly, at Disney.”

Love, whose only major victory came at the 1997 PGA Championship, has twice finished runner-up at the Sony Open — in 1994 and 1999.


January 15, 2009

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