LIV Golf reserve Andy Ogletree showed why he is the top player on the Asian Tour this year after carding a 4-under 67 to take the third-round lead at the International Series England at 9 under.
On a day when the sun came out for the first time this week, despite a strong wind, an unwarned South African Neil Schietekat carded a 66 here at Close House, near Newcastle, to sit one back, while Australian Matt Jones (67) Mexico’s Abraham Anser (69) and Spain’s David Puig (70) are even more unaffected.
Ogletree, who leads both the Asian Tour and International Series Order of Merits, finished strong with an eagle at the top-five 16th, followed by a birdie to take the lead on a stacked leaderboard.
He had started the day a shot behind overnight leader and partner Puig, who made a costly three-putt at the 12th, where he four-putted, to give the American the lead.
However, Ogletree missed a two-footer for par on the next hole and saw Jones move in front in the closing stages before his storming finish.
“I was patient all day, really tough, you know some birdie opportunities come your way. He hit a great shot on 16 and I ended up making an eagle, so that was kind of a bonus,” the 25-year-old American said. , who has claimed two International Series titles: in Qatar this year and in Egypt last season.
“It was brutal with the wind. Hit some crazy clubs, like I hit a pitching wedge from the 168 and stuff like that. So it definitely changes the wind 20-30 yards, whether it was so beautiful, very difficult or it was so beautiful.”
The American looks more rested than rusty, having not played 72 holes of tournament golf since April as he travels with the LIV Golf League as a reserve.
Schietekat is overjoyed to be among the front runners after almost not starting this week after a nasty fall from a golf cart earlier in the week.
The 2020 Qualifying School graduate, who has only made one cut this year, said: “I’ve been with Hamish in physio since Tuesday when I fell off the cart, and on Thursday I was seconds away from being taken off when I was driving range.
“I looked at my bucket and I just said well, you know what the point is, we’re hitting a 140 seven iron. We kept hitting it and it kind of warmed up and got better and then we just found a way to get it down there. Now I can’t get my normal draw because I can’t pass the ball the way I normally do, so I just hit it with some butter. This is the kind of golf course you can fool around with and get away with.”
Jones’ gift for playing in the wind was on full display today.
The 43-year-old grew up playing in strong winds in Australia and when the wind picked up he jumped at the chance, shooting six birdies and two bogeys.
Said the two-time Australian Open champion who now plays in the LIV Golf League with Ancer and Puig: “Yeah, it wasn’t easy at all, there was nothing easy about it. The greens and pin positions were tough, they did a good job setting up the tees, moving forward to make some holes much stronger. It was just to give yourself the best chance to make an uphill climb of whatever you could. And I mean we were hitting six irons 160 yards, so it was a good 30-yard, 40-yard wind.”
India’s Anirban Lahiri, a seven-time winner on the Asian Tour and its 2015 Order of Merit champion, is tied for sixth, four off the lead, after a 69.
He made four consecutive birdies from the 11th and another at the 16th to be in position to challenge for his first Asian Tour win in eight years.
Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland was inches away from a hole-in-one at the par-three 18th. He birdied his third in the final five holes to card a 71 to finish the day at two under, in a tie for 13th.
#Ogletree #leads #International #Series #England #Golf #LIV