Date: December 05, 2010
Author: Adam Lucius, Sportal

Title buoys Ogilvy after mixed year

Freshly-minted champion Geoff Ogilvy has described the Australian Open as the &aposjewel&apos of the country&aposs golfing titles after claiming a breakthrough victory at The Lakes on Sunday. The Victorian comfortably held off all challengers on the final day to complete a resounding four-stroke win, finishing the tournament 19 under. He equals the mark set jointly by Jack Nicklaus (1971) and Mark Calcavecchia (1988) and at one stage had Gary Player&aposs 45-year-old tournament record (24 under) in his sights. Ogilvy has had several near misses at the Australian Open in the past, including a runner-up placing to John Senden in 2006. Etching his name alongside the likes of Australian golfing greats Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Steve Elkington hasn&apost been an obsession, but definitely a career goal. “I d love to win the (Australian) Masters my goal is to win every tournament I play but this is the real special one in Australian golf, this is the jewel,” Ogilvy declared. “Any year you win a golf tournament is exciting (and) any year you win the Australian Open you&aposre going to have to look back and think it&aposs a pretty special year.” “This is right up there.” Asked what it meant to have his name up there with some of golf&aposs biggest names, Ogilvy replied: “I don t mind where people put me in relation to the greats.” “I d like to win lots of big tournaments because winning tournaments is enjoyable.” “It&aposs a feeling of satisfaction. If I play like I think I can play, I think I&aposll have a reasonable career.” “The motivation isn t about how people talk about my career.” Ogilvy says victory at his national championship has helped rekindle his love for the game after a bittersweet year. The 33-year-old won the season-opening PGA event in Hawaii in January but then fell into a dark hole of form which he feared he might no emerge from in time for the Australian Open. But the 2006 US Open winner arrived in Australia with renewed confidence after finding his touch in lead-in tournaments before blitzing the field at Ogilvy&aposs comfortable win at The Lakes has ensured what was going to be an average year will end on a high note. “To win the first week and then play relatively horrible golf for nine months (is disappointing),” he said. “No year you win in the US is a bad year but when it s the first week and you don t play very well for the next six or seven months I didn&apost enjoy golf that much this year, just because of how I was playing.” “I came into a bit of form late but ran out of tournaments.” “It’s (the Australian Open win) definitely helped the year a lot.” Ogilvy headed into the final day holding a comfortable five-stroke lead over his nearest rivals. The tournament was his to lose and the 33-year conceded that made for an uneasy feeling. “It’s an odd feeling having a large lead on the first tee,” he said. “Today was probably the day I struggled the most with my game.” “Today I was least comfortable. The ball just wasn&apost going quite where I wanted it to go.” “I haven t had to test my short game out the first few days but today I had to, especially on the front nine.” “I got up and down a few times and made all the putts I needed to make.” In the calm conditions that had some players suggesting the course was too easy for such a prestigious tournament, Ogilvy played it safe and waited for those around him to falter. “There&aposs more of a mental challenge. You haven&apost given yourself the tournament but everyone else probably has,” he said. “I&aposd much rather go out with a lead but there&aposs that slightly uncomfortable feeling about a large lead.” “My attitude was &aposthey have to come and get me, I don&apost have to do anything special&apos.” “I thought if I kept playing the way I was playing I was destined to make two or three birdies and that meant he (playing partner and eventual joint runner-up Matt Jones) had to shoot eight or nine under.” “It was never panic stations.”