Ogilvy wins maiden Australian title

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2008 Australian PGA Championship | Round Four | 07 Dec 2008

In what ultimately developed into a battle between the third round leader Mathew Goggin and his playing partner in the final group of the day, Geoff Ogilvy, it would be Ogilvy who would prevail and win his first title in his homeland. Ogilvy won the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship by two over Goggin and by three over Rod Pampling, Scott Strange and Peter Senior.

The 2006 US Open Champion and winner of three other titles on the USPGA Tour rests easy tonight with not only a home title to his name but a meaningful one. The Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship is one of the time honoured events of Australian golf and it is perhaps fitting that the tournament’s leading world ranked player emerged as the winner.

Goggin increased his one shot lead early in the day when he birdied three of his first eight holes and at 15 under par he had opened up a three shot lead over Ogilvy and Rod Pampling. Ogilvy appeared to be only treading water as Goggin established what appeared to be a winning break. Consecutive bogies for Goggin at the 9th, when he pulled his second badly and again at the 10th changed the nature of this event and while Ogilvy was hardly stamping his authority he was doing little wrong.

It would be Goggin who would eventually make the mistake. Ogilvy was able to birdie the reachable par five 12th after a good up and down and the pair was level at 13 under. It was at the 16th however when Goggin would finally lose the lead. He pulled his second to the par five into the water and the bogey he took at that hole saw him lose the lead for the first time on day four.

Ogilvy then birdied the 16th from 5 feet and the gap was two but Goggin bounced back with a six foot birdie putt at the 17th to close the gap to one and headed to the 18th hole just one behind. Needing a birdie at worst to force a playoff, Goggin found the fairway but his approach was well short of the flag. Ogilvy found the green 25 feet from the hole and when Goggin’s 60 foot putt ran well past the hole Ogilvy only needed a two putt and the title was his. He ran his putt to less than a foot and waited while Goggin missed his par saving putt.

Ogilvy tapped in and it was over.

“It feels pretty good,” said Ogilvy after his round. “Obviously it has been a pretty good week for me. It’s been a long time coming but I felt good all week. I have come off a break and a limited amount of tournaments in recent months but did play well in China a few weeks ago so I knew I came here playing well. I played well on Thursday and then played really well over the weekend.”

“I think I have worked out how to practice and get myself ready for a tournament after a break now and what that allows me to do is that I now know I can take a break and not be concerned about the impact on my game.”

“This is a pretty nice trophy,” said Ogilvy looking staring at the Joe Kirkwood Cup. “There are some pretty solid names on it and it is obviously one of our most historic tournaments and the good thing about it (the win) is that I don’t have to ask any more questions next week (about not winning at home). Now Adam (Scott) can answer them all,” he added tongue in cheek.

Goggin was clearly disappointed but still philosophical about his late struggles.

“I feel like I have been through the whole gambit now. Hopefully the next experience will be winning. I was disappointed that I didn’t give myself a quality opportunity at the last and put extra pressure on Geoff but I had an awkward yardage and tried to force a draw in there.” Goggin came up 60 feet short and three putted.

Hopefully I can learn from this. “The second shot on 15 was probably the stupid one. Where the flag was I felt I needed to be a long way up there to make birdie and probably was trying to get more out of the hole than I should have been.” Goggin’s pulled second there led to a bogey.

“I feel like I am world class player now and continue to give myself opportunities and can compete with these guys. Hopefully the second and move me up a little more in the world ranking as I am keen to get inside the top 50.” Goggin is currently 87th.

In a share of third was quiet achiever of Australian golf in 2008, West Australian Scott Strange, 49 year old Peter Senior and last week’s Australian Masters winner, Rod Pampling. Strange won the Celtic Manor Wales Open earlier this year and is an understated but fine player. After several years on the Asian Tour he has emerged as a significant winner in Europe and has increased his profile here with this finish.

Senior was brilliant and his effort was later heralded by the winner, Ogilvy.

“He’s awesome. I can’t imagine being that enthusiastic about playing golf at the age of 49. He’s more than competitive There’s a lot you can learn from Peter Senior. He has transformed his game from a guy who could hit it a long way to being a guy who now outsmarts many of us”.

Senior won this title in 2003 and age has not wearied him. Still the ultimate competitor, Senior birdied the 17th from 8 feet to move to 12 under and playing four groups ahead he had a realistic chance with a birdie at the last to post a score that might have tested those behind on the golf course.

“I’m really excited about my game,” said Senior. “After the 8 foot birdie at the last I knew on the 18th tee that I needed to hit a good drive but it was about 5 yards too far right and the lie was awkward. I decided to lay it up and hope for a pitch and a putt. I wasn’t able to to do that but any time you finish in the first half dozen of a tournament you can be pleased.”

Geoff Ogilvy is therefore the Australian PGA Champion for 2008 and adds further to the impressive list of winners of this title. He is a class act on and off the golf course and his measured and convincing response to his victory tells the story of a still relatively young man who has already achieved much but has a lot more wins at home and elsewhere ahead of him.

Ogilvy is the last golfer to win a professional event over this layout. In 2009 the Hyatt Regency Coolum golf course will incorporate changes at present underway where the five holes on the ocean side of the David Low will be replaced by new holes on the western side. The nature of this outstanding tournament venue however is such that the dynamics of the event are unlikely to change.


Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 -14 Geoff Ogilvy Australia 67 71 67 69 274
2 -12 Mathew Goggin Australia 67 68 69 72 276
T3 -11 Peter Senior Australia 70 67 71 69 277
T3 -11 Rodney Pampling Australia 70 67 68 72 277
T3 -11 Scott Strange Australia 70 69 69 69 277
T6 -10 Brett Rumford Australia 69 72 69 68 278
T6 -10 Chris Gaunt Australia 71 68 68 71 278
T6 -10 John Senden Australia 69 70 71 68 278
T6 -10 Wade Ormsby Australia 70 70 69 69 278
T6 -10 Wayne Perske Australia 71 66 73 68 278
Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
Tournament Page and Full Scoreboard »
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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

    Read all of Bruce's articles »

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