PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida, March 2 (Reuters) - Australian Geoff Ogilvy heads into Sunday’s final round of the Honda Classic just two strokes back of the lead, refinding his touch with the putter after a poor start to the season.
Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, missed the cut in all four events he played on the West Coast this season, failing to break 70 in any of his rounds.
But in tough, windy conditions at PGA National, he grinded out an even-par 70, helped by a birdie on the final hole.
“I putted really, really poorly on the West Coast, and I was hitting the ball quite well, but when you miss a couple of putts, it changes your whole mood, as well,” Ogilvy told reporters after his round.
“Golf seems so much harder when you’re not making those eight or 10 footers for birdies, every now and then when you get a chance. It just seems like a harder game.”
Ogilvy said he hadn’t made any major change to his technique but rather was comfortable on the type of grass typically found on Florida courses.
”I‘m kind of hitting the ball similar to how I was, even though I didn’t grow up on Bermuda (greens), I’ve had some pretty good times on it. I‘m much more comfortable on it than I am on some of the West Coast greens, at the moment, anyway.
“I just holed a few more putts early in the week and I think that kind of gets everything else happening,” he said.
That rediscovered confidence helped the 35-year-old deal with bogeying his first two holes on a course that was offering few birdie chances.
The Adelaide-born seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, birdied the 18th to finish with an even-par 70 after starting his round with two bogeys.
“It’s hard work when you’re two-over after two. That wasn’t too much fun starting like that. But from five onwards, the par three, I hit it really well. I felt pretty comfortable out there,” he said.
”I could always be making more putts but today was a day to stay out of trouble, and if you had to, hit it to 30 feet and two-putt.
“Even par for the day was never going to go backwards, it was only going to go forward, and I did that.”
He had just one top ten finish on the PGA Tour last year and needs a tournament win to get into this year’s Masters.
Editing by Gene Cherry