Golf

Rory Sabbatini isn’t a ‘Texan’ anymore. But the former Colonial champ is in contention

Rory Sabbatini isn’t a Texan anymore.

He lived in Fort Worth for 13 years, but has relocated to Florida. Oh, and he’s now an official citizen of Slovakia too.

Asked whether he was still a Texan, the South African-born Sabbatini smiled and said: “No, no. I’m Slovakian now.”

Sabbatini made headlines last December when he became a citizen of the European country, possibly eyeing a chance to compete in the 2020 Olympics. But he should be making headlines for his resurgence on the golf course.

The 43-year-old Sabbatini already has three Top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, his most since four Top 10s in 2015. And he’s in good position for another Top 10 this weekend.

Sabbatini finds himself in fourth at the Charles Schwab Challenge, an event he won in 2007. Sabbatini put together an impressive round on Friday morning with a 4-under 66 at Colonial Country Club, and enters the weekend at 6-under 134. He’s paired with Tony Finau (8-under) in the second to last group Saturday, teeing off at 12:45 p.m.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I was able to capitalize on a few of them,” Sabbatini said.

Sabbatini made six birdies in Round 2, including a chip-in from 29 feet on No. 13. His other birdies all came with nice approach shots that left him less than 10 feet from the hole.

All of it has Sabbatini in position to contend once again this season. He finished T5th at the AT&T Byron Nelson earlier this month, posting four consecutive rounds in the 60s, and finished T3rd with partner Brian Gay in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month.

Sabbatini has won six times on the PGA Tour, including a DFW sweep as a champion of both the Nelson and Colonial, but has not found the winner’s circle since March 2011 at The Honda Classic. That’s a stretch of 213 PGA Tour events and counting.

“I’m putting myself in position, giving myself a lot of opportunities,” said Sabbatini, who fired an 8-under 62 in the third round of his 2007 victory at Colonial.

“It’s the old rule of thumb: keep knocking on the door, it’s eventually going to open.

“I can’t say whether or not this will be my week, but all I can do is go out and put two more solid rounds together on the weekend and see how that all adds up.”

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