Saturday, November 19, 2016

Australian Open golf 2016: Leader Geoff Ogilvy keeps low profile as Jordan Spieth lurks


Geoff Ogilvy once played a round with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. He reckoned it was like he "wasn't even there".


Australian Open: Ogilvy finds his groove

Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy is in prime position to win the 2016 Australian Open after a stunning display on Day three.
The same could have been said about him during the first two rounds of the Australian Open, where crowd magnet Jordan Spieth and Australian whiz-kid Curtis Luck managed to cast him – a former major winner, no less – into the shade. A "third wheel" as he put it.
Think they won't be watching on Sunday? Not this time. The former US Open champion, celebrating a decade since that win, is in prime position to claim a tournament he holds up as a "fifth major".
But only if he can survive the looming challenge of world No.5 Jordan Spieth, who hasn't been within cooee of his best after a six-week sojourn and wakes up on Sunday morning just two shots behind Ogilvy and the Australian Open lead.
But for now, 2010 winner Ogilvy will enjoy the anonymity as everyone else marched to the Spieth and Adam Scott beat. And also the fact barely anyone saw him whiz around Royal Sydney and post a blistering eight-under 64, coming with it a clubhouse lead he dropped anchor on, as 28 players to finish after him failed to make an impression late in Saturday's third round.
"I've played with Tiger and Phil a few years back and that was like I wasn't even there," Ogilvy laughed of his low profile this year. "I was frustrated because I wasn't a couple of shots better than I was, but it's quite kind of nice to be invisible in a group if you like.
"You just play golf and watch one of Australia's best kids and one of the world's best golfers play. It's a good spot to be."
So is the top of the leaderboard. But maybe not so much when Spieth is lurking, in a share for second with New Zealander Ryan Fox and Aaron Baddeley, who will share the last group with Ogilvy.
"Probably the best scorer we've seen play golf for a long time," Ogilvy said of Spieth. "[But] it's the Australian Open. It's our fifth biggest tournament I would say, in the world, after the Majors. The further separated, I think, you get from it, and the more you look back, the more important the Australian Open is."
Spieth knows how important it was to him after his final-day heroics at The Australian in 2014. And who is going to bank against him doing something similar at Royal Sydney?
"[I] felt very confident starting that round," Spieth said after a late flurry helped him sign for a four-under 68 on Saturday.
"Felt like it was my tournament. I feel that way here; I feel my best golf is yet to come out. At this present moment I feel very confident about where things are. I can draw on 2014 for sure.
"I'm going to play pretty aggressive [on Sunday]. I may dial back on a couple holes – I'm in the position to do so. I'm going to stay true to myself. That [2014] was a round that felt like an easy 63 if that makes any sense. It did wonders for me going forward so I'm very excited about [Sunday]."
Scott? He flew out of the blocks with birdies on the first two holes, but somehow managed to finish his outward nine at one-over. A couple of birdies late in his round hauled him back to seven-under for the tournament – and four adrift of the lead.
Which will be hard to wrestle though from Ogilvy, who drove himself mad at last year's Australian Open with a putter which had completely lost its radar.
"A year ago I was missing the hole by a foot and it's been getting closer and closer to going in," he said. "Looking back at it, on the first tee I would have said if someone shoots 64 [on Saturday] that would have been a really good score."
It was. Now just for one more when everyone is watching.
PAR 216 (3x72)
Players are Australians unless otherwise stated
205 G Ogilvy 70 71 64
207 A Baddeley 74 66 67, J Spieth (USA) 69 70 68, R Fox (NZ) 68 68 71
208 R Pampling 71 67 70
209 J Higginbottom 73 70 66, J Scrivener 70 70 69, L Herbert 67 71 71, A Scott 73 65 71, J Nitties 70 65 74.
216 Michael Sim (Scotland/Australia) 71 72 73 (T51)


Taking nothing for granted: Geoff Ogilvy.
Taking nothing for granted: Geoff Ogilvy. Photo: Getty Images



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