Date: May 04, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Long-range eagle Ogilvy’s tonic

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Geoff Ogilvy didn’t take long to launch himself up the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard.

The veteran Victorian holed a six-iron from 175m on the par-four first hole at a bouncy and fast Quail Hollow in North Carolina today.

It propelled Ogilvy to an impressive opening three-under-par 68 that left him tied seventh behind only five players at four under and leader John Peterson, who twice holed out for eagle in his sparkling 65.

Of the other Australians, Jason Day made a closing bogey on the ninth hole in an otherwise impressive 69, while Rod Pampling, Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers all signed for even-par 71s.

Adam Scott has a mountain of work to do after an opening 75, while Ryan Ruffels, playing for a second consecutive week on the US PGA Tour, made five bogeys in his final six holes as he fell to a 78.

But it was Ogilvy, whose iron play has long been widely regarded as immaculate, who was rewarded on a layout penal to wayward approaches.

The Victorian hit 13 of 18 greens and, partly on the back of his opening-hole heroics, gains a phenomenal five strokes on the field with his approach work.

“I was yelling at it to get up like an idiot and it went in the hole,” Ogilvy said with a grin of his eagle.

“I’ve been hitting the ball well – it’s been coming – just a couple of train wrecks each round (have done) the damage.

“But I hit the ball well today and had plenty of chances. It’s really tricky if you get off track here, so it’s pretty important to be on the greens in the right places.”

Ogilvy said the firm greens and landing areas had prompted a different approach shot philosophy than at many tour stops.

“If you have 170 to the pin, you (might need to) land it around 155 or 160 … and that’s not something we do very often,” he said.

“The ball is bouncing around and (with) a little bit of breeze, it makes it  tricky.

“I’m not going to hole six-irons on the first hole every day, but I like where my game is and I’m generally played pretty well at Quail, I like it here.”