Australian Geoff Ogilvy barely held on at the top of the leaderboard in the USPGA Tour’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz championship on Friday, firing a five-under 68.
Ogilvy’s 11-under total of 135 put him one shot in front of American DJ Trahan and two in front of South African Ernie Els in the US$5.6 million event.
Ogilvy notched five birdies — including three in a row from the fourth — in the first nine holes. He picked up another stroke at 15 before his first bogey of the tournament, at the par-four 17th before closing with a par at the last.
“As soon as I hit it in the air, I knew it was short,” Ogilvy said of his second shot on 17. “It just climbed.”
While Ogilvy had hit his drive more than 400 yards, he said the second shot looked short from the moment he hit it — a product of the variable winds that can make Kapalua so difficult.
Ogilvy, 31, said he wasn’t too concerned about the end of his bogey-free run here.
Trahan scorched the course for seven birdies and an eagle to offset two bogeys, jumping up from a tie for ninth place into second.
“Really, really pleased with the way I played today,” Trahan said. “I hit the ball really solid. Obviously, the eagle on 15 was a tremendous gift and at no point did I expect to make that putt. It had 15 feet of break on it. I was just hoping to two-putt and knock that in, so it was awesome.”
Els stayed in the hunt despite a difficult front nine that included two bogeys. Coming in he birdied 13, 15 and 18, with a bogey at 14 en route to a 69 for 137.
Els said his score could have been better but for a balky putter.
“If I made some putts, I could have had a low [score], and I knew today was the day to get a low one. You know, I’m there, but I feel like I could be a lot better,” he said.
AP, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Scotland’s David Drysdale shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to take a 1-shot lead after the second round of the Joburg Open.
Drysdale, who had a 65 in the first round, made five birdies and no bogeys on the West Course, the easier and shorter of the two courses on which the opening two rounds were played.
“I’m very pleased after playing well yesterday,” he said. “I just kept it going today.”
Rain and lightning interrupted play for nearly two hours midway through the day.
Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey got three birdies on the back nine of the East Course to move to 10-under after two rounds, one shot behind Drysdale.
Hoey, who finished 10th in last month’s SA Open, was looking forward to playing the weekend with the leaders again.
“I was leading the SA Open but I didn’t finish it off,” he said. “The more times I can get into these positions the better and more confident I’m going to feel.”
Defending champion Richard Sterne moved back into contention with a 66 on the West Course after his opening 71. He is bidding for a third consecutive European Tour win to equal a feat last achieved by Seve Ballesteros.
Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen climbed up the leaderboard with a 68 on the West Course, but hurt his chances with a bogey and a double bogey. He finished at four-under after two rounds, seven off the lead.
South African pro Alan McLean, who lives in Canada, got a hole-in-one on the 10th of the West Course when his 6-iron off the tee trickled into the cup.