Ogilvy Matchless at Match Play

By Brian HewittMarch 1, 2009, 5:00 pm
Geoff Ogilvy is the new Zen master of golf. Or as Chevy Chase put it in 'Caddyshack:' nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nuh.
Tiger Woods has a poker face but he will turn fiery quicker than you can say fist-pump. Sergio Garcia wears his heart on his brightly-colored sleeve. Phil Mickelson is an analytical mind trapped in an emotional body.
Geoff Ogilvy
Geoff Ogilvy has one of the most admired swings on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)
But only Ogilvy, among the worlds best players today, can float down a fairway, like hes walking on lemon meringue, just moments after pumping a high-launch desert rocket 340 yards down the middle of the fairway. He rarely varies his swing plane or tempo. And he never hurries his pre-shot routine, his backswing or the metronomic gait he employs to reach his golf ball between shots.
Ogilvy, the unawed Aussie, showed up at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club early in the week ranked eighth in the world and unobtrusively won his first two matches in extra holes without showing a pulse.
Then he kicked it into a higher gear ' especially on Saturday when he cut off teen sensation Rory McIlroys oxygen supply in the morning and returned in the afternoon semifinals to drain the blood from the face of Stewart Cink.
This week was all about the fact that Tiger was back after eight months spent on the sidelines rehabbing a surgically-repaired knee. And that was fine with the self-effacing Ogilvy, who would be the last person to remind you that:
  • He breezed to victory in the season-opening Mercedes Championship in January by four shots.
  • He will show up at the WGC-CA Doral in two weeks as the defending champion.
  • He already had a match play major under his belt thanks to his 2006 win at the WGC-Accenture. Oh, and by the way: Ogilvy captured the U.S. Open at Winged Foot later that year.
  • Oh, and by the way Part II: Ogilvy, who analyst Paul Azinger repeatedly called the best ball-striker in the field, converted 70 of 74 putts going into his quietly relentless 4-and-3 final-round victory Sunday over Englishman Paul Casey.
    Which begs the question: If youre the best ball-striker in a field that includes every single one of the top-ranked 64 players in the world, doesnt that make you the best ball-striker in the world?
    You wont get Ogilvy to publicly ponder that question. But you will get him to discourse thoughtfully on golf course architecture or hard rock guitar playing. He aspires to excel at 'picking' almost as much as he does at golf. But knows its impossible to perfect either. And if you really push him to tell you something about himself that nobody else knows, he will tell you that he has to take a shower every night before he goes to sleep.
    If I dont, he says, I just feel dirty. This from a guy who clips his long irons so cleanly off the fairway he rarely takes a divot. A superintendents dream, Johnny Miller called him.
    I threw a lot at him, said Casey, who played long stretches of very good golf in the 36-hole final. And he didnt flinch.
    Anyway, nobodys anywhere close to saying, Tiger Who? anytime soon, even though Woods exited in the second round. But just one week ago the supporters of world No. 2 Sergio Garcia and No. 3 Phil Mickelson were looking up at Woods perch in the rankings and figuring out ways to pass him soon in the complicated points system. Now they had better pay attention to the irresistible force behind them that Ogilvy has inexorably become in recent months.
    He has won three of his last eight events worldwide and finished no worse than 32nd in any of those tournaments. If Woods plays at Doral, the player he will paint a virtual bulls eye on the back of will be the laid back Ogilvy.
    And that will be a flattering thing for golfs new Zen master.
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    Z. Johnson looks to end victory drought at Valero

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Nearly three years after his most recent victory, Zach Johnson has a chance to get back into the winner's circle at the Valero Texas Open.

    Johnson started the third round at TPC San Antonio with a share of the lead, and he maintained that position after closing out a 4-under 68 with a birdie on the final hole. At 13 under, he is tied for the lead with Andrew Landry and one shot clear of Trey Mullinax as he looks to win for the first time since The Open in 2015.

    "Different wind today. Misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above," Johnson told reporters. "But truthfully, I mean my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities, especially on the back side."

    Johnson started slowly, making the turn in even-par 36, before carding four birdies on the inward half. It was a microcosm of his week at TPC San Antonio, where Johnson is even through three trips across the front nine but has played the back nine in 13 under while picking up more than six strokes on the field in strokes gained: putting.

    Johnson won this event in both 2008 and 2009 when it was held at nearby La Cantera, but he has only cracked the top 10 once since it shifted venues in 2010. But facing off in the final group against two players who have yet to win on the PGA Tour, the veteran hopes to capitalize on his back-nine prowess this week in order to deliver career win No. 13.

    "I've got to do exactly what I did on the back side, and that was give myself opportunities on every hole," Johnson said. "I'm putting great, I'm seeing the lines well, my caddie's reading the greens well. So it's just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch."

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    Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

    Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

    Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but his sizzling round left him alone in third place through 54 holes, one shot off the lead. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

    "It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

    Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

    The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

    "Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

    Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

    "I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

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    Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

    Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

    South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

    Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.

    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

    He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

    Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

    Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

    Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.

    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.