Local hope Ogilvy ready for Masters

Geoff Ogilvy will call upon some of his fondest childhood memories in his bid to win a maiden Australian Masters title this week.

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Ogilvy grew up playing on Melbourne’s famed sandbelt courses, and looked a man at home as he practised and reminisced at the Metropolitan course on Tuesday.

The 2006 US Open champion – and second favourite for the Masters starting Thursday – recalled a formative golfing experience as a young teen at the Huntingdale course next door.

Ogilvy was one of many local golfers in pink marshalls’ shirts, helping keep the crowd quiet on the second hole.

Except when the Great White Shark was present.

“In the Greg Norman days when they needed more marshalls on every hole…I just followed, I carried my quiet sign and went inside the ropes,” he said.

“It was Greg and Peter Senior… Pete on the 18th hit it on the practice fairway and he hit it on the green and won the tournament.

“I watched the round from them from the second tee, that was my earliest memory and it was fantastic.”

The year was 1991, with Senior’s Australian Masters win coming at the end of Norman’s incredible streak of six wins in his previous 10 tournaments.

Fast forward to 1997, when Ogilvy last played a tournament at Metropolitian – in the Australian Open as an amateur.

The 20-year-old Ogilvy finished well behind winner Lee Westwood, who shocked the young golfer on the practice tee with his distance.

“It was a joke how far he has hitting it, he was hitting the fence,” he said.

“Now we all just hit 3-woods over the thing.”

While Ogilvy hasn’t played the course competitively since that Open, he hopes those memories will provide a welcome boost.

Ogilvy missed the cut at the Perth International last month and was carrying a “pesky virus” on Tuesday.

But after a fortnight of practice he said he’d have no excuses this week.

“I feel like I can win the tournament,” he said.

“Melbourne’s obviously home and if I play well on this kind of course, I should do well.”