Ogilvy takes control with stunning 63
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 Australian Masters | Round Three | 17 Dec 2011
Home-grown product, Geoff Ogilvy, leads the J.B. Were Masters following a stunning third round of 63 to come from four shots off the 36 hole pace and lead by two over England’s Ian Poulter heading into tomorrow’s final round at the Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne.
Given the congestion on the leader-board at the end of day two of the event the possibility existed for a player to come from well of the pace in round three and perhaps even establish a lead heading into the final day tomorrow.
That said, not even Ogilvy could have even dreamed of the start he made. Ogilvy a member of the Victoria Golf Club during much of his amateur career, calculates that he has played this golf course and the opening hole perhaps a thousand times but suggested the eagle two he made at the reachable par four was 1st was only his fifth by his rough calculation.
Ogilvy followed the opening eagle from 6 feet or so with birdies at the 2nd and 3rd. “To start a round like that is pretty good,” said Ogilvy. “After that every time I had a chance, a wedge in my hand or something from the fairway I hit it pretty close and had some pretty short putts for birdie.”
“I hit a couple of loose shots – a weird one into the 13th and made bogey there and probably hit too much club at the 16th but the evidence provided to me on the tee there with where the wind was and stuff I didn’t think I could hit it too far.”
Then I birdied the last which is what you want to do here when it is playing downwind because I only had a sand iron in.”
After his opening eagle Ogilvy proceeded to birdie the next two holes and despite a bogey at his 5th hole he birdied the 6th 8th and 9th hole to make the turn in 29. When he then birdied the 10th something even more significant was looming that the lead in the tournament.
Eight under for the day through 12 holes the potential existed, especially given the birdie opportunities remaining for Ogilvy, to break the magic number of 60 for the first time in a major Australian event. He needed four more birdies in the last six holes which over the Victoria Golf Club’s layout is not unreasonable.
Instead he would bogey the 13th and 16th but a birdies at the 15th and 18th saw him finish with 63 and a two shot lead.
Ogilvy was using a new putter, a decision imposed on him by an act of defiance on Thursday and one he readily admits he is not proud of. Ogilvy bent his regular putter in frustration late in his opening round and was forced to putt on his final couple of holes with a wedge.
“I was disappointed and it is not very nice to get into that frustration if you like. More than that is it kind of embarrassing to finish the last couple of holes putting with a wedge.”
Was it his best round at his home course? “I think I might have had a 62 during hit and giggle with friends but there is a fair bit of difference between a hit and giggle on a Friday afternoon and a round in the Australian Masters.”
Poulter had recovered from his illness of yesterday but struggled a little with the changing nature of the golf course. He again finished strongly however and at 11 under and just two back he is Ogilvy’s nearest challenger on the leader-board and perhaps too in reality.
“It was awkward I birdied the first two holes but the next four holes I had four different wind directions,” said Poulter after his round. “It is unusual that happens in such a short space of time,” said Poulter.
“I made a couple of mistakes but holed a couple of nice putts but hats off to Geoff for going out and shooting 8 under in that wind today. When someone posts a course record on you on Saturday generally they move forward. Geoff’s done that and I will be chasing him down tomorrow.
“Even though I holed a couple of good par putts and a bogey putt I had a lot of chances, a few that missed but I guess making those good par and bogey putts makes up for it. It would have been nice to hole that putt at the last as it was going straight in the middle and it would have been nice to get a little closer to Geoff.”
In a share of third position is Newcastle golfer, Nathan Green who after a poor year on the PGA Tour where he lost his card is perhaps buoyed by the fact that he regained his PGA Tour playing privileges via the Tour School two weeks ago.
Also at 9 under and sharing that position with Green is Ashley Hall who recovered from a shaky start to finish with three birdies in his last five holes for a round of 68. Tomorrow is shaping as a big day for the perhaps underrated Victorian.
Five players share 5th position namely Peter Lonard, Steven Bowditch, Greg Chalmers, Kieran Pratt and Matthew Giles.
The winning chances appear to stop there although even they will need something special if they are to throw down the gauntlet to Ogilvy and Poulter.
One more day exists in the 2011 world golfing season. It would be fitting if the J.B Were Masters produced the sort of finish such a milestone deserves.
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