LEMONT, Ill. — Two days after his Presidents Cup snub, Rory Sabbatini made captain Greg Norman’s decision to leave him off the International team look even more peculiar.
Sabbatini ran off seven birdies on renovated Cog Hill for a 5-under 66 on Thursday, giving him a share of the lead with Steve Marino at the BMW International and hopes of making it to the FedEx Cup finale.
They had a one-shot lead over Bo Van Pelt and Marc Leishman, who only qualified for the third playoff event by making an eagle on his final hole Monday at the TPC Boston.
Tiger Woods, a four-time winner at Cog Hill, was among those at 68.
Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove shot a 1-over 72 while Calgary’s Stephen Ames carded a 5-over 76.
Sabbatini won the Byron Nelson Championship in May and appeared to be in good shape to make the Presidents Cup team until Y.E. Yang stunned the golf world with his comeback win over Woods at the PGA Championship to bump Sabbatini out of the top 10.
Norman then used his two captain’s picks on 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, who has won four times in the last calendar year; and Adam Scott, who is in the worst slump of his career and has fallen out of the top 50 in the world ranking. Right after his low round, Sabbatini took the high road.
“If I’d been playing well over the past couple weeks and didn’t get picked, I might have something to complain about,” said Sabbatini, who has missed four cuts in his last eight starts and has not finished in the top 30 since winning in Dallas. “But you know what? The situation is such . . . I’m here this week. I’m going to focus on this.”
Scott had two top 10s this year — the Sony Open in January and the Scottish Open in July — without another finish in the top 20. Norman said Scott, a fellow Australian, was “the logical choice.”
What disturbed Sabbatini was not hearing from Norman or anyone else during the three weeks after the PGA Championship when the captain makes his two selections.
“There was not a single conversation or a single phone call, period,” Sabbatini said. “You could say I was a little disappointed.”