Notebook: Experience pays off for Ogilvy

2011-02-25T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:37:46Z Notebook: Experience pays off for OgilvyMichael J. Craven Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 25, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Geoff Ogilvy was surely disappointed with his bogey on the 17th hole Thursday, resulting in a trip to the final hole all square with his opponent Thomas Bjorn.

Disappointed, but not worried.

When you've had as much match play success as Ogilvy, perhaps you just expect to win - even when things aren't going your way.

"It's not the first time I've gone to 18 all square in this tournament," Ogilvy said after parring and watching Bjorn miss his 6-foot par putt on 18 to end the match. "Through some luck - like there - a couple of times, and through good things that I've done, it's worked out for me multiple times."

Indeed, it seems to work out for Ogilvy, 33, more often than not. Playing in his sixth Match Play, he's been in the final three times, and won twice - 2006 and 2009.

Even scarier for Ogilvy's remaining opponents, the Australian has never made it past the second round, which he did Thursday, and finished short of the final.

And, he said, there's a reason for it.

"I've often played better in the end of this tournament then I did at the start, especially the year I beat (Paul Casey) here," Ogilvy said of his 2009 victory. "The first couple rounds were a bit scrappy and I was playing the best golf I've ever played by the end.

"It's definitely a long tournament where you can find form and find your match-play head, so hopefully that happens again."

Ernie's gone, too?

With Tiger Woods eliminated by Bjorn in Wednesday's first round, and Phil Mickelson falling to 22-year-old Rickie Fowler earlier on Thursday, a Tiger or Phil-sized crowd gathered around the 18th as Ernie Els approached.

Fans not only surrounded the green itself, but lined the approaching fairway, on both sides, for a good 100 yards.

With the two biggest names of the last decade gone, it seemed as though Els was the next big star in line to follow.

"Sometimes you like to be able to root for or against the people that you've known all these years," said 68-year-old George Richards, visiting the tournament from Danville, Ill.

"As someone who watches golf, I always like to see some of the older players hang in there."

The 41-year-old Els, who was 1 down coming into the final hole, had his 31-foot birdie putt lip out, and 28-year-old J.B. Holmes beat him to advance to the Round of 16.

"I'm 20 percent with my putter," Els said.

"So, that's what I've got to work on. It was good coming out and just getting through yesterday."

Baby on the tee

Golf balls weren't the only things lying in the grass at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Driving Range on Thursday afternoon.

Luke Donald's young daughter - she turns 1 today - giggled as she crawled around in the area where Donald was hitting. Earlier in the day, the 33-year-old Brit advanced to today's third round with a 2-and-1 victory over Italy's Edoardo Molinari.

"We obviously spend a lot of time on the road, and it's nice for them to travel," Donald said of his wife, Diane Antonopoulos, and daughter, Elle.

Donald said Elle doesn't often come onto the range with him, but that Match Play is an exception.

"It's a little bit of a different event," Donald said.

"There are only 16 guys left so it's a quiet range."

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