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A cool head helped Geoff Ogilvy

At first glance, Australia's Geoff Ogilvy appeared a shock winner of the 106th U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

World-ranked 50th at the start of this year, he had triumphed only once on the PGA Tour prior to this season before landing his first major title on Sunday when Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie spectacularly self-destructed on the final hole.

Ice-cool over the closing stretch, Ogilvy managed to execute all the shots required of him in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Winged Foot.

With temperatures climbing and par a daunting challenge all week on the longest course in U.S. Open history, the 29-year-old Australian negotiated the final four holes without blemish and a little bit of good fortune.

Having playing smart golf throughout the closing round, he chipped in from greenside rough to save par on 17 and followed suit at the last by getting up and down from below the front of the green.

"At the end of the day, the guy who wins the U.S. Open chips in on 17 and that was just a phenomenal chip he hit at 18," said Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who had to settle for fifth place after dropping shots on the last three holes.

"The winner does the things right at the end of the day, but he's only a hair's breadth from being like the other guys.

"It's getting into position and hoping the cards fall at the right place at the right time."

To some extent, smart golfers earn their luck and Ogilvy has tried to emulate Tiger Woods by focusing on the mental side of the game.

"Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because he's got the best brain," Ogilvy said after claiming his third PGA Tour title.

"He hits the ball well, but there are plenty of guys that hit the ball well. He's got the best head, though.

"You slowly realise you'd better be smarter about this game to succeed."

Regarded by his peers as one of the best ball-strikers in the game, Ogilvy proved at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February he also has the inner steel needed by U.S. Open champions.

Of all the majors, the U.S. Open is the most gruelling with the ability to grind out pars and stay patient of paramount importance.

When Ogilvy sealed his surprise victory over Davis Love III in the 36-hole Match Play final at La Costa, he did so after four of his earlier matches had gone into extra holes.

"If I'm two over after five holes in a normal PGA Tour event, I'm pretty stroppy," conceded Ogilvy, who has climbed to eighth in the world rankings.

"At a major it hasn't affected me so much, maybe because I know everyone else is struggling and you've got no chance unless you bring your best patience and attitude.

"I enjoy that aspect of golf, just plotting my way around there and thinking about it."

 

 




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