NORTON — For the first two days of the Deutsche Bank Championship, Geoff Ogilvy swung his putter with all the grace of a sledgehammer.
He hit 17 of 28 fairways and 27 of 36 greens. But when Ogilvy leaned over his putter, his good vibes fluttered away on the wind that’s been sailing through TPC Boston.
“The first two days was putting frustration,” Ogilvy said. “I hit the ball really well [Saturday]. I had chances all day. I was 3 or 4 under after nine holes [Saturday]. I missed every 6-footer I had on the back nine, which makes it difficult. If you want to contend, you have to hole a few 6-footers every now and then. I missed them all. That puts you in a bad mood.”
Ogilvy, 1 under par through two rounds, didn’t feel much better to start Sunday’s Round 3. He carded all pars on the front nine.
But on the 10th hole, his putter returned. He rolled in a 17-footer for his first birdie. He drained an 8-footer for par on No. 11. He buried an 11-footer on the 12th hole for his second of four back-nine birdies.
Ogilvy parred No. 17, but he ended the round with a statement by recording an eagle on the par-5 18th hole. Ogilvy finished with a 6-under 65. He enters the final round at 7 under.
“It’s amazing what a couple putts will do to your demeanor, the scorecard, and everything,” Ogilvy said. “Basically, I just found my putter for the last nine holes, which was fun.”
All this for a player lucky to be here at all.
Last week, Ogilvy flamed out of the Barclays. He missed the cut after shooting a 7-over 149 through two rounds. Ogilvy had started the tournament in 90th place in the FedEx Cup standings. Missing the last two rounds put him at risk of dropping out of the top 100 and being denied entry to TPC Boston.
Ogilvy did not care to watch the rest of the tournament on TV. But he caved to checking his phone on the final day to determine where he might land outside the top 100.
Upon the conclusion of the Barclays, Ogilvy had dropped just to No. 100, the last qualifying spot for the DBC.
“Everything’s a bonus,” Ogilvy said. “This time last week, I was home. And I was content with that. It was, ‘My vacation starts, set my mind to the [Frys.com Open in October], have a few weeks off, and hang out with the kids.’ I got back in, which was a bonus.”
Ogilvy enters Monday’s finale with a fighting chance to win the tournament and advance to next week’s BMW Championship. The top 70 players after the DBC will receive invitations to play at Cherry Hills Country Club.
“I’m sure they’re going to have a few birdies this afternoon, those boys,” Ogilvy, an early starter, said of his peers. “But I’m within a shout to get to the top 70, and maybe even better than that. It’s nice to still have a reason to come out and have a good round tomorrow.”
Ogilvy didn’t want Sunday to end. On the final hole, with a downwind aiming toward the pin, Ogilvy chose a 3-wood over his driver. At first, Ogilvy regretted his decision when his tee shot landed 258 yards from the hole.
But Ogilvy, using his 3-iron, sailed his second shot 12 feet short of the pin. By nailing the putt, Ogilvy scored the day’s first eagle on No. 18. He had parred the hole the first two rounds.
“It’s pretty nice,” Ogilvy said. “I played the par 5s so badly this week. I’ve hit perfect drives on most of them and had mid-irons and short-ish shots in, and hardly made a birdie on any of them.”
Ogilvy’s playoff run nearly ended a week ago. Now he’s in contention to play next week. He could even battle for the FedEx Cup title at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club later this month.
“Outside of Reno [where he won the Barracuda Championship], I didn’t really have a good year,” Ogilvy said. “I was coming in a long way down the list. But you’re one week away of getting all the way to Atlanta and having a chance to win the whole thing, which is nice. I guess I’m one good round away from the same sort of story.”