Ogilvy hits lead to set up Open showdown with Spieth
Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy fired an eight-under-par 64 to move into the outright lead at the Australian Open and set up a final round showdown with two-time major winner Jordan Spieth yesterday.
Ogilvy, 39, was 11-under-par and two shots ahead of American Spieth, fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox with one round remaining at the Royal Sydney Golf Club.
Veteran Australian Rod Pampling was one shot further back after a third round 70 while world No.7 Adam Scott carded a tumultuous 71. Scott joined fellow Australians Jake Higginbottom, Jason Scrivener, Lucas Herbert and James Nitties in a five-way tie for sixth at seven-under.
Ogilvy began the day six shots behind overnight leader Nitties and produced six front-nine birdies-including four in a row-to join the lead halfway through his round.
The 2010 Australian Open champion consolidated with birdies at the par-five 16th and par-four 18th for a tournament-low round. “That was kind of an easy 64 if there is such a thing,” Ogilvy said.
“I didn’t really see 64 on the first tee, but after going out so well on the front nine, I kind of started seeing a score like that. “When you’ve been seeing putts hit the edge and not go in for a few months, or years, you feel a lot better when they actually lip in instead of lip out.”
Former world No. 1 Spieth began the day at five-under and recovered from a slow start with five birdies from the sixth to the 14th to post 68 and his best round of the tournament.
“After being one over through the first five holes and really being all over the golf course, I really could have been three or four over at that point and turned it around into a four-under round, so I’m very pleased with being at nine under,” Spieth said.
The 2014 Australian Open champion needed 25 putts yesterday and said he feels confident on the greens after lamenting poor putting on the first two days. “I’m just going to be more aggressive on the greens tomorrow now that I feel more comfortable,” he said.
“I feel like my best golf is yet to come out and, therefore I feel confident about where things are.”
Baddeley, 35, began the third round with back-to-back birdies on his way to a five-under 67 and will play alongside Ogilvy in Sunday’s final pairing.
The 35-year-old is chasing a third Australian Open title, 17 years after his win as an 18-year-old amateur at Royal Sydney in 1999. “You have so many good memories here, lots of good shots, putts made, so it definitely helps when you go back to a course that you’ve played well at and have got such good memories at like here,” Baddeley said. “It would be pretty cool to win here tomorrow, I mean, 17 years later, that would be super special.”
Scott mixed four birdies with three bogeys and was upbeat after his 71 despite missing a short birdie putt on the final green.—AFP