30 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |

Ogilvy upstages young guns

by Australian Golf Media

Geoff Ogilvy Dunhill image
Geoff Ogilvy on his way to an opening 66 at Kingsbarns on Thursday. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

It was billed as a showcase of the next generation of Aussie talent yet it was veteran Geoff Ogilvy who showed the way on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Ogilvy’s round of six-under 66 was one of the rounds of the day at Kingsbarns and puts him in a tie for 11th along with Kiwi Ryan Fox (66) in a tournament that also encompasses the Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie Golf Links.

Ogilvy will start his second round from the eighth tee at St Andrews at 5.30pm AEST on Friday, play across all three courses to be conducted in a shotgun start due to the awful weather expected in the afternoon.

In a tournament so reliant on getting the right conditions on the right course, Ogilvy says that he could hardly ask for a better draw.

“The Old Course is the easiest of the three to play in the worst weather,” Ogilvy told Golf Digest’s John Huggan.

“There is a bit of space and on most holes you can bump-and-run the ball onto the greens.

“At Carnoustie there is nowhere to hide from the elements. And Kingsbarns is so exposed; a high wind there is always going to cause problems.”

It was largely an encouraging start for the majority of the 14 Aussies in the field.

Maverick Antcliff posted four-under 68 at Kingsbarns while David Micheluzzi (69, Kingsbarns), Nathan Barbieri (69, Kingsbarns) and Josh Armstrong (69, Carnoustie) were the best of the 10 who qualified by virtue of their finish on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.

Daniel Gale started with a two-under 70 at Kingsbarns while Blake Windred and Louis Dobbelaar both opened with rounds of two-under 70, nine shots back of Frenchman Romain Langasque whose 61 matched the course record at the Old Course.

It was an encouraging start too for Ryan Fox whose clubs are stuck in France and who has been battling a knee injury in recent weeks.

“Played really nicely today,” said Fox, who also spoke of the sadness he is feeling without having regular pro-am partner Shane Warne by his side this week.

“It's been a while since I felt like that out on the golf course and saw some putts go in.

“It's been a messy the last few weeks. My knee, still haven't got my golf clubs from France yet so nice to see something go right on the golf course.”

It was something of a surprisingly string start too for Brad Kennedy at the Japan Golf Tour’s Vantelin Tokai Classic at the Miyoshi Country Club.

The ultra-consistent 48-year-old fired a four-under-par 67 to grab a share of third spot, just two shots behind the leader Genki Okada (65).

This is just Kennedy’s third appearance in the tournament across his long career in Japan, conceding that it is a golf course where he has struggled to feel comfortable in the past.

“Miyoshi Country Club is not a course I feel fits my eye and it’s often been an event I’ve missed during this busy part of the season,” explained Kennedy, who finished tied 24th in 2014 and tied 32 in 2019 in his earlier two appearances.

“Today I allowed myself the freedom to let go of expectations and play the shots with absolute intent. Tomorrow will be another test which I will be prepared for.”

Kennedy has now recorded nine consecutive under-par rounds since the Shinhan Donghae Open, with seven of them being in sub-70s.

“It was a solid day and even when I got out of position, I was able to get up and down and keep the momentum,” said Kennedy, who has five top-10 finishes this season.

“Hit my wedges well today and had plenty of chances. I also made birdie with 8-iron twice which is a bonus. I’m just trying to get better and learn more every time I go out there.

“Continue to play smart, aggressive golf but at the same time play within myself and not press which I tend to do.”

Further down the leaderboard, fellow Australians Anthony Quayle and Adam Bland sit at two-under in a tie for 22nd.

West Australians Daniel Fox and Scott Strange are the best of the Aussies entering day two of the Asian Tour’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters.

Fox and Strange both began their tournament with rounds of four-under 68 to be tied for seventh, just two strokes back of local hope and defending champion Wang Wei-hsiang (66).

Three birdies in the space of five holes has Karis Davidson well positioned late in her opening round at the LPGA Tour’s The Ascendant LPGA in Texas.

Back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13 after starting from the 10th tee had the Gold Coaster on the wrong side of par but she earned one back at the par-5 17th and then moved to two-under with birdies at two and three.

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