GEOFF OGILVY has had a huge boost to his season with a runner-up finish at the 2013 Honda Classic in Florida.
Ogilvy, who had dropped to 79 in the world rankings and only had one top 10 last year, now finds himself back inside the top 50.
His new ranking of 46 not only gives him a start in the lucrative World Golf Championships – Cadillac Championship in Miami this week but also sees him back in line to gain a spot in the US Masters in April.
Ogilvy had missed four straight cuts coming into the event but kept insisting he was hitting the ball well. He blamed poor putting results for his lack of success.
The putting still wasn’t completely on song on Sunday. If a few more birdie attempts at least got to the hole in the final round maybe it would have seen him lifting a US PGA TOUR trophy for the first time since 2010.
As it was, Ogilvy birdied two of his last three holes, including a dramatic chip in on the 16th and a long eagle chance on the 18th, to shoot a closing one-under-par 69 and finish two strokes behind American Michael Thompson (69), who won at nine-under.
In cold, windy and difficult conditions on the challenging PGA National course (rated second hardest course on the TOUR last year), Ogilvy was one of only five players to better par.
“I played really well today,” the Victorian said. “It was frustrating with the putter a little bit but I wasn’t really that close to the hole very much. It was pretty hard to get short birdie putts out there.
Ogilvy really need to sink his birdie attempt on the par-three 17th after a very “brave” tee shot taking on the water to put more pressure on the American.
“I was happy with the way I was hitting the ball. I hit some really good shots on the last two holes. To hit it towards the pin on the 17th was a little braver than I was trying to be I think,” the 2006 US Open winner said.
Still, it was hard to begrudge Thompson his first tour win. The 27 year old has spoken in recent days of the struggle and frustration of a golfing career in which has missed around half the cuts. He spoke of just trying to remain positive and when things weren’t going well with his swing to take it out on the driving range and try and “dig it out of the dirt.”
“This week was magical, I just had a groove and I just kept believing,” said Thompson, who was runner up at the US Open last year in similarly brutal conditions.
Matt Jones was the next best placed Aussie with a round of the day 2-under 68 seeing him finish on even tied for 18th.
The tournament also made golfing headlines when the defending champion, world No.1 Rory McIlroy, walked off the course when he was seven over for his first eight holes of the second round and looked certain to miss the cut.
McIlroy at first said he quit because he was having mental problems and couldn’t concentrate but later it turned dental, with the Northern Irishman saying the lack of attention was due to a sore wisdom tooth.
His good friend Tiger Woods – who finished with a 74 to be 4-over for the tournament and T37 – offered some sage advice:
”He’s just got to be more … just got to think about it a little bit more before you say something or do something,” Woods said.
2013 Honda Classic Final Leaderboard