Ogilvy capitalises on Montgomerie's sad capitulation

James Corrigan,New York
Wednesday 01 April 2009 17:30
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In sensational scenes here that reminded of the Carnoustie Open Championship in 1999, Australia's Geoff Ogilvy won his first major last night. But in doing so he broke Phil Mickelson's and Colin Montgomerie's hearts.

Both will long rue final-hole capitulations that Jean Van De Velde himself would be proud of. First Montgomerie, chasing his first major at the 58th attempt, blocked a simple mid-iron on to the 18th green and from the thick rough on the right failed to get down in the three shots that would have forced a play-off.

The 42-year-old chased his first putt, as he believed he needed to make it, but the ball ran 10 feet past. If Montgomerie could have any shot again in his life it would be that one. A simple lag to hole's side would have had him return today for an 18-hole shoot-out with Ogilvy. But then he was not to know the disaster that was to befall the world No 2.

On the 18th tee, Mickelson appeared a certainty to become only the third man in history to win three majors in succession. All he needed was a par to win and a bogey to deny his young Antipodean rival. But inconceivably he sliced his drive so far left that he bounced off the roof of a hospitality tent beyond the trees in the thick rough. With the ball finding a bare lie, it looked as if he had had an outrageous piece of luck.

But the angle to the green was still prohibitive and unwisely Mickelson took it on. A day that been characterised by the raucous New York crowds who hold Mickelson so close to their patriotic hearts suddenly fell eerily silent as his ball cannoned back off a tree directly in front of him.

Up ahead in the scorer's tent, Ogilvy's mouth fell open as he realised what this meant. Even Mickelson could not locate the putting surface from where he was and in the event a shot into the back left bunker was a good result.

But not good enough to allow him to get up and down and from there ­ his double bogey was an inevitable as Montgomerie's. The pair finished in a tie for second with Jim Furyk but never will a runners-up medal be worn so bitterly. Not even the realisation that they had been bitten by one of golf's nastiest monsters would have been any sort of consolation.

Ogilvy's winning score of five over ­ the highest in a major since Paul Lawrie's victory at Carnoustie ­ showed how difficult it had been and the temperatures that soared towards the 100-degree mark made it more hellish than the television cameras showed.

With bogeys arriving with the normal frequency of pars the field bunched; so much so that with nine holes remaining there were 10 players on and within two of the lead.

From a long way out Ogilvy looked likely to be one of the main combatants. The 29-year-old from Adelaide was bottle personified as he played the last five holes in level par. A chip-in on the 17th helped, but the player who announced his arrival at the big time with victory in the WGC Match Play in California earlier this year was worthy of his win. He is an avid historian of the game and has been outspoken in his criticisms of the modern game's reliance on power. They will have to listen to this talented young Victorian now.

But perhaps he should not go back to the land of his ancestors to celebrate in the foreseeable future. As a distant relative of Sir Angus Ogilvy, he has some Scottish pedigree but may not find too warm a welcome in Monty country. Montgomerie, himself, was not blaming him, however. "It's the first time in a major I've messed up," he said. "It's always been others playing well that's done for me before. I look forward to coming back for another US Open disaster next year." And so the curse of the Monty major lives on.

Neither was there the ultimate Ferry tale of New York. Ken Ferry, that is. The 27-year-old from Ashington hung in resiliently enough, with six straight pars keeping him level with Mickelson, his playing partner.

But then a bit of fan interraction on the seventh tee did for him. As he swang his seven iron on the par-three three a cry of "you the man" went up. Ferrie was committed to the shot, but hurried it and when the ball flew on to the back of the sloping green a three-putt was also inevitable.

Alas, so was a hasty retreat for the young Geordie who has impressed so much in his first US Open and will be that much better for the experience. Still, his 76 did allow him to finish in the top 10 and provided some consolation. There was little of that for Mickelson and Montgomerie here last night.

US Open scores from Winged Foot

FINAL ROUND (GB or Irl unless stated)

285 G Ogilvy (Aus) 71 70 72 72.

286 J Furyk (US) 70 72 74 70; C Montgomerie 69 71 75 71; P Mickelson (US) 70 73 69 74.

287 P Harrington 73 69 74 71.

288 N O'Hern (Aus) 75 70 74 69; J Sluman (US) 74 73 72 69.

289 R Imada (Japan) 76 73 69 71; L Donald 78 69 70 72.

290 P Casey 77 72 72 69.

291 D Howell 70 78 74 69; D Duval (US) 77 68 75 71; M A Jimenez (Sp) 70 75 74 72; R Allenby (Aus) 73 74 72 72; A Oberholser (US) 75 68 74 74.

292 J M Olazabal (Sp) 75 73 73 71; T Pernice (US) 79 70 72 71; A Scott (Aus) 72 76 70 74; P Hedblom (Swe) 72 74 71 75; T Immelman (SA) 76 71 70 75.

293 S O'Hair (US) 76 72 74 71; E Els (SA) 74 73 74 72; A Cabrera (Arg) 74 73 74 72; T Purdy (US) 78 71 71 73; H Stenson (Swe) 75 71 73 74; C Barlow (US) 72 75 72 74.

294 R Pampling (Aus) 73 75 75 71; W Austin (US) 72 76 72 74; S Hend (Aus) 72 72 75 75; S Jones (US) 74 74 71 75; B Bryant (US) 72 72 73 77.

295 S Cink (US) 75 71 77 72; J Haas (US) 75 72 74 74; C Howell (US) 77 71 73 74.

296 S Gangluff (US) 76 73 77 70; T Armour (US) 79 70 74 73; J Cook (US) 71 78 74 73; J Dufner (US) 72 71 78 75; L Williams (US) 75 73 73 75; B Van Pelt (US) 72 75 73 76; F Funk (US) 71 75 73 77; C Collins (US) 76 71 72 77.

297 C Hoffman (US) 76 70 78 73; C Schwartzel (SA) 74 72 76 75; J B Holmes (US) 74 73 75 75; K Jones (US) 73 74 73 77; P Archer 72 72 75 78; T Bjorn (Den) 72 74 73 78; G McDowell 71 72 75 79; F Couples (US) 73 74 71 79.

298 D Clarke 73 72 79 74.

299 B Curtis (US) 78 71 77 73.

301 K Perry (US) 77 71 79 74.

302 J M Singh (Ind) 73 76 77 76; C Villegas (Col) 74 72 79 77; S Kendall (US) 73 75 76 78.

303 B Crane (US) 77 72 74 80.

305 T Herron (US) 73 76 79 77.

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