San Diego home, but no Torrey edge for Ogilvy

By Doug FergusonJanuary 26, 2012, 10:59 am

SAN DIEGO – It takes Geoff Ogilvy only 10 minutes to get from his house to Torrey Pines, a beautiful commute through the village of Del Mar, along a stretch of surf at Torrey Pines State Beach and then up the side of a cliff to his office for the week.

A hometown favorite?

Not necessarily. He grew up in Australia, and only recently moved here from Arizona.

A home course advantage?

Ogilvy played a practice round for the Farmers Insurance Open on Tuesday. It was his first time on the South Course at Torrey Pines since he shot 74 and tied for ninth in the 2008 U.S. Open.

“There’s a lot of nice golf courses around that don’t have 50 people standing on the first tee when you line up, which is a testament to how cool the place is,” Ogilvy said Wednesday. “This is pretty unique. It’s a bit like Bethpage in New York. It’s the pride and joy of the town, really. I’d love to play here a bit more, but I just don’t get around to doing it.”

Ogilvy will get his fill this week when the tournament gets under way Thursday. This is his first tournament of 2012, and he has high hopes for his season, much like he did a year ago until slicing open his finger on the coral while at Kapalua.

The real hometown favorite is Phil Mickelson, who grew up in San Diego and was a regular at Torrey Pines. Mickelson moved to Arizona early in his career, before coming home. Mickelson’s caddie, Jim Mackay, and Ogilvy were neighbors in the Scottsdale area.

What’s a guy from Melbourne doing all the way in San Diego?

For Ogilvy, it feels like home. And compared with the scorching summer climate of Scottsdale, it feels like heaven.

“It started when we had kids,” he said, noting that Scottsdale’s three months of triple-digit temperatures made it difficult to take the kids outside. “A lot of people from Arizona come to the coast in the summer. It’s just not that cool, really. So we started coming over for summers. Spent the whole summer here when the Open was here and had a great time. And basically just started looking for houses because we enjoyed it.”

The plan was for Del Mar to be a summer getaway from the heat.

But there was always the drive home, through the desert, over the mountains, down into the valley of Phoenix.

“You drive over those mountains and it’s going up a degree every second almost,” he said. “And you get down to the bottom of the hill and it’s 105. It’s like, `Why are we going back?’ We eventually just decided on one of the trips back that this would be our last winter.”

There’s plenty of similarities.

The surf. The beach atmosphere while walking along sidewalk cafes in Del Mar. Even the eucalyptus trees.

“The trees are all Australian trees,” he said. “You stole them.”

With Torrey Pines packing in the public crowd, Ogilvy has taken to nearby courses like La Jolla Country Club, San Diego Country Club, the Grand and the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe.

No matter how pretty the area is, Ogilvy sees it as a work week. He failed to win last year, a season lost due to the finger injury in January, a neck issue in the spring and even stomach trouble in the middle of the year.

He had a busy fall with the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the Presidents Cup in Melbourne and the Australian events. He has been playing a lot of rounds in good winter weather in San Diego.

“I’ve been at practice the last couple of weeks and it feels pretty good,” he said. “I’ve got that start-of-the-year excitement to play.”

Most of golf’s biggest stars are halfway around the world in Abu Dhabi this week, which includes Tiger Woods, whose seven wins at Torrey Pines includes the 2008 U.S. Open. The top four players in the world also are in the Middle East – Luke DonaldLee WestwoodRory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer – meaning there figures to be more world ranking points.

Torrey Pines offers a deeper field, yet only one of the top 10 in Dustin Johnson. Mickelson is the biggest star this week at No. 15 in the world, no longer having to share the stage with Woods in his hometown.

Among the PGA Tour players who waited until the fourth week to make their 2012 debut are Ogilvy, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler, who starts his third full year still looking for his first Tour win.

Ernie Els is making his 2012 PGA Tour debut as well, though he lost in a three-man playoff last week in South Africa at the Volvo Champions. It was disappointing not to win, yet encouraging to close with 67 and get a runner-up finish to move up the world ranking.

He is now No. 57. And he is paying attention to the ranking for good reason.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Big Easy starts a new season without assurances that he will be at the Masters. He might not be eligible for two World Golf Championships over the next six weeks.

And for the first time since he cares to remember, Els finds himself looking at the world ranking.

“I look at it now,” Els said. “I never used to. When you’re comfortably in the top 10, top 20, you don’t look at these things. Now, I’m on the other side of the wheel. I’ve got to play myself into events. I’ve got to get into the Masters, into Doral, into the Match Play. And that’s fine with me. And if I don’t get in, that’s fine with me.

“I feel like I’m going to have a good year,” he said. “I feel good about it.”

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Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

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Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

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Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.

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Kaymer in six-way tie for BMW International lead

By Associated PressJune 23, 2018, 5:29 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 67 to equal the week's lowest round for a six-way share of the lead after the third round of the BMW International Open on Saturday.

Bjerregaard had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to finish on 5-under 211 - jumping 23 places and joining local favorites Martin Kaymer and Maximilian Kieffer, England's Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai, and Australia's Scott Hend at the top of the leaderboard.

Bjerregaard was fortunate to play before the wind picked up again later in the afternoon.


Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


Kaymer, the 2008 champion, delighted the home supporters with two birdies in his last three holes for a 71.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen and Chile's Nico Geyger were one shot off the lead after rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.

Defending champion Andres Romero equaled the week's best round (67) to be among a large group two shots off the lead going into Sunday, including three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.