No two ways about it, the Brits had a great week this week.
Ian Poulter struck first. He went down under to Melbourne, Austrailia to play in the JBWere Masters at the Victoria Golf Club. He got off to a rousing start shooting 6-under, 65 on the first day. It was the low round of the day and teed him up; when you beat the entire field on the first day, it’s assuring. You know you’re playing well relative to the field and you don’t have to fight your way up to the lead. You’re it.
On the third day, Geoff Ogilvy went off. He shot a course-record 63 on his boyhood home course to take a two-shot lead over Poulter. Ogilvy now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, so it was quite a treat to have the local boy come home and make good. So it was with great anticipation when Ogilvy and Poulter arrived on the first tee to begin their day together.
Ogilvy hit a strategic 3-iron right in front of the green on the short par-4 first hole. Poulter nailed a 5-wood to 15 feet and made the putt for a right-out-of-the-box eagle-two. Ogilvy stumbled to a par, they were suddenly tied and the game was on. Ogilvy said that he was unperturbed by the eagle and since he looked that way all day long, we’ll have to take him at his word; there were after all still seventeen holes to go and it’s not as if he was defenseless.
But midway through the front nine the wind started to come up and it became clear that any round under par was going to be a good round. Poulter didn’t make a birdie until 7 and then again on 9. Ogilvy made all pars until the bogey on 13 and another on 15. And with that Poulter cruised to the finish and a three-stroke victory. Perhaps “cruised” doesn’t really capture the entirety of the moment. On 17 the wind suddenly accelerated so dramatically that there was mini-tornado activity in one of the fairway bunkers that threw sand everywhere. The camera work was excellent.
In fact, Ogilvy actually finished third to a spectacular round by fellow Aussie, Marcus Frazer, who somehow shot a 64 in all of that wind. Nobody would have thought that was possible, so I suppose that pretty clearly demonstrates that anything is.
After a while, a couple of time zones further west and on the north side of the equator in Bangkok, Thailand, fellow Brit, Lee Westwood, showed why he is now the number two player in the world. He won the Asian Tour’s Thailand Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club and he was trifling with everyone.
The first day he shot 60. 60! That’s just one off the magic score of 59 that gets your name recorded for posterity. Everybody knows how difficult it is to come back the next day with a low score; it just doesn’t happen all that often. Westwood shot 64. After two days he was 20-under par when that would have been a fairly dramatic statement had it been the winning four-day score.
He finally came back to earth in the third round shooting a 1-over 73. South African, Charl Swartzel had been mounting a steady charge all along, so by the time he posted his third-round 66, Westwood’s stupendous start had been whittled down to just a 4-stroke lead. He had to be asking himself how that happened.
But he apparently didn’t dwell on it, shooting a tidy 69 in the fourth-round blustery winds to Schwartzel’s 72. That earned him a 7-shot win, a large silver trophy and the accolades of his Twitter buddies and professional peers strewn around the globe.
Used to be if you went to Thailand, nobody would hear from you for ten days. With the Internet and Twitter’s place in it, it seems you’re never out of touch.