THE best players make sport look easy. Think of Mark Waugh gliding that shot off his pads or Roger Federer’s grace on the court. And think Geoff Ogilvy, Australia’s top-ranked golfer.
He has a fluent motion that allows him to hit the ball long without apparent effort – enough to make an amateur puke.
More than that, the world No.11 has become the consummate professional in recent years. There is nothing that he does that especially well by the high standards of the players around him. There is nothing he does poorly.
And the Victorian has the X-factor – he knows how to win.
The pre-tournament favourite started yesterday needing to do something special and it soon seemed possible.
He began the third round on the 10th tee and birdied, then hit a beautiful trap shot at the 13th to set up another birdie and holed a four-metre putt at the par-three 15th for another.
At the par-five 16th, he attacked the flag, cut left beside a deep swail. His pitch landed, almost held up on the edge of the green but disappeared into the collection area, leaving him a tricky chip. Ogilvy whipped out his lob wedge and hit the flag with his shot, making a safe par.
At the long par-three 17th, his tee shot disappeared into one of the hollows beside the green.
He chipped it close and made the one-metre par putt.
Then at the 18th he conjured a shot of exquisite beauty, a short iron approach that pierced the wind, landed a metre from the cup and stopped. Another birdie, and just 32 shots for his first nine holes, and Ogilvy was back in the tournament at five-under-par.
That he is out of contention tonight at three-under is due to a particular ailment. Ogilvy has failed to capitalise on Royal Sydney’s par-fives.
And with the wind whipping up, last week’s PGA champion drifted further down the leaderboard .