Ogilvy’s controls Open’s destiny

Geoff Ogilvy leads into the final round of the Australian Open, adding a third round of 67 at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney to open up a five shot lead over his nearest pursuer all day, Matt Jones.Ogilvy bogeyed his final hole but he has a commanding lead, one a player of his standing is unlikely to let slip.

Two players, Alistair Presnell and Greg Chalmers, are tied in third position at 10 under with John Senden and Matthew Griffin another shot back in 5th.

The event again dodged a bullet on day three with the predicted rain arriving but only for a few minutes around mid morning. It gave way to overcast and warm conditions accompanied by only the gentlest of breezes for much of the round and the good scoring which had been a feature of the opening two days continued.

Ogilvy birdied his opening hole from 14 feet but was challenged early in his round by playing partner Matt Jones. When the Victorian birdied the 9th to turn in 3 under 32 however he had moved three clear.

Ahead of the final group on the golf course, many were making considerable progress. Alistair Presnell turned down the opportunity to attend the Final Stage of USPGA Tour School this week because he was just simply golfed out following the Australian Masters.

Today, after a two week break and a clearer mind he moved into outright third when he secured his 4th birdie of the day at the 10th and was within two of Jones.

Presnell was unable to build on the momentum he had established early in his round but a birdie at his final hole had him at 10 under and within striking distance of a big payday. It appears he will need a round along similar lines to that he had when winning the Victorian PGA Championship earlier this year (60) if he is to have any hope of challenging Ogilvy tomorrow. Today however was a very impressive bounce-back from the golfer who was completely drained two weeks ago.

Greg Chalmers was an even bigger mover. After a wake-up call at the first when he dropped a shot at the short par four, Chalmers reached the turn in 34 but it was his run over the closing stages that swept him into contention. He birdied his next five holes to be only the third player to reach double figures in this event. At 10 under he might have trail by five but he had nevertheless made a big move and created at least a glimmer of hope of his second Australian open title.

Ogilvy continued to stretch his lead over the back nine and although he was unable to pick up the almost obligatory birdie on the 17th and then bogeyed the last, he finished his round with his all but unassailable lead into tomorrow.
Jones, too, missed an opportunity at the 17th but parred the last to finish within five.

Ogilvy was happy with the day despite the final hole bogey. "It is never nice to finish like that whatever you are shooting. I am well over it now though. I rushed to the range as we saw some rain coming to hit a bucket of balls. Normally I would not rush to the range in a left to right wind but whilst the feeling of that shot was in my head I wanted to get it out of my head. I hit a 20 or 30 nice ones and it is gone.

"I played very well again - just like yesterday and hit a lot of good shots and had a lot of chances. I had plenty of opportunities that I didn't make but made some nice putts so all in all I walked off feeling like I putted well and made the most of the day."

When it was suggested earlier by Greg Chalmers that there was little likelihood of him going backwards tomorrow Ogilvy responded, "Hopefully not - if I play like I did today then I don't think I will but golf is a funny game and if it is wet like it is right now (rain arrived at close of play today) then you never know what is going to happen. Obviously I am in a decent position after three rounds and if I can do it again tomorrow then I will be alright by the end hopefully.

"It's between rounds that golf is hard," he said responding to the question as to how much he will think about tomorrow. "I am sure I will think about it a couple of times. It would be abnormal to stop yourself thinking about it but I am sure I will sleep ok tonight."
Where will this victory, should it come, rank in his list of victories after the obvious US Open of course but compared to his World Golf Championship victories? "They are hard arguments those. Right now the WGS's are more valuable for your career but when I am finished my career and looking back you would be prouder of an Australian Open win than a WGC. In the short term the WGC's offer do a lot for your career with more money more ranking points and exemptions but in the longer term the more the Australian open will mean so it is right up there."

Two years ago Geoff Ogilvy, one of Australia's greatest players, was without a domestic title to his name. He won the Australian PGA Championship that year and tomorrow seems all but assured of adding yet another of Australia's great titles to his impressive list.

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