Ogilvy holds on at Australian Open

Geoff Ogilvy is the 2010 Australian Open Champion, capitalising on the five shot lead he took into today's final round at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney with a round of 69 to win by four over his nearest pursuer throughout the final 36 holes, Matt Jones, and Alistair Presnell.

The victory adds the historic Stonehaven Cup to the Joe Kirkwood Trophy he won when taking out the PGA Championship title in 2008 and gives him a place of increasing importance in Australian golfing history.

Recently turned professional, Jordan Sherratt, from South Australia produced a stunning performance for one of his relative inexperience to finish in a share of 4th with John Senden.

In warm, sunny conditions and with a gentle breeze from a slightly different angle to that which had prevailed all week, Jones took his first bite out of Ogilvy's lead when he birdied the 6th and when Ogilvy was unable to match him the difference had been reduced by one.

A significant moment in the tournament came at the par three 7th when Ogilvy was long with his tee shot and appeared almost unplayable behind the green. He produced a miraculous recovery to save par and Jones had missed out on another opportunity to apply pressure.

Both birdied the par five 8th but at the 9th Jones converted from 12 feet and the difference as they headed for the 10th tee was just three.

Ogilvy was still in control but the door had opened slightly. Try as he may however Jones could not close the gap. Whenever he threatened to do just that Ogilvy had an answer, birdies by both at the 13th and 14th being good examples of that very thing.

Jones might well have been anticipating one last opportunity when Ogilvy faced a ten foot par saving putt at the 15th but the champion holed it and two minutes later Jones missed from half the distance and the difference was four. The already unassailable lead became even more so and despite a bogey at the 16th, Ogilvy, with a three shot lead, would have the luxury of savouring the moment over the final two holes.

Jones would bogey the 17th and fell back into a tie for second with Alistair Presnell whose final round of 65 will be good enough to secure him a cheque for $126,500.

Both Ogilvy and Jones would par the last, providing Ogilvy with his first National Open, his second domestic title following his Australian PGA Championship in 2008 and growing status in the history of the game in this country.

"It is an odd feeling having a large lead on the first tee," said Ogilvy. "I've done it a couple of times now and it is strange. Today was probably the day I was the least comfortable with my game. The ball just wasn't going where I wanted. I hadn't really had to test my short game out this week but today I did over the front nine holes and got up and down a few times and made all the putts I needed to make.

"It was a day where my attitude was that they had to come and get me and I don't have to do anything special. I knew if I kept playing the way I had been playing then I was destined to make two or three birdies or something and he (Matt Jones) would have to shoot eight or nine under or something. I think the 15th was the defining point when I got up and down and Matt dropped a shot. It took all the stress out if things and it probably showed when I three putted the 16th.

"You would rather be five shots in front than one in front starting the day but it is actually more of a mental challenge as you haven't given yourself the tournament but everyone else has. There is that slightly uncomfortable feeling about a large lead.

"All I had to do today was not mess up really so I would make them have to shoot a good score.

"This has helped the year a lot. To win the first week of the year and then play horrible golf for the next six or seven months made me not enjoy the game, just because how I was playing. I came into a bit of form late but started to run out of golf tournaments."

Ogilvy was asked about where his name might stand amongst the greats of Australian golfers. "I don't really mind where people put my name in Australian golf history. If I play like I could play then I will have a reasonable career but the motivation is not how people talk about my career it is just having those enjoyable weeks where you win golf tournaments."

Jones was disappointed not to have pushed Ogilvy to the limits. "I'm disappointed. I hit it very well today but didn't putt well enough the last two days to win. I am happy with second but I came here to win but will have to do it next week hopefully. It was a tough day. If I made a birdie he made one "“ we matched each other so I couldn't get any momentum going.

"I think the par he made on the 7th was pretty important (Ogilvy made a miraculous recovery from and almost impossible position behind the green there). If he bogeyed that and I birdied it there was a big change there and then at the 17th I hit a three iron too far somehow more than 265 yards.

"I am looking forward to next week although I am not putting well enough right now. I had all my equipment stolen about two months ago and had my best club stolen - my putter. I got one off Adam Scott to try next week so hopefully that works."

Presnell has turned around a miserable last eight months with his share of second and after wanting to take a break from the game two weeks ago is back refreshed and rearing to go.

John Senden's excellent form over the past few months continued this week with his share of 4th position although he will be frustrated by his many near misses on the greens after creating countless opportunities.

The PGA Tour of Australasia now moves north to the Hyatt Regency Coolum for the final event of the 2010 season, the Australian PGA Championship.

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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