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Geoff Ogilvy says that having Tiger Woods to chase will help him play more freely this weekend. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Geoff Ogilvy says that having Tiger Woods to chase will help him play more freely this weekend. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

For Ogilvy, top spot in Tulsa is so close and yet so far

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Geoff Ogilvy hit the halfway point a mere three shots behind leader Tiger Woods, but was disgusted at the way he's finished both his rounds. If he can hit a few more fairways, he believes, he can overtake Woods and grab a second major crown.

By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.com Contributor

TULSA, Okla. -- Three shots off the lead. Thirty-six holes left in the final major of the year.

And, yes, Geoff Ogilvy is disgusted.

With himself.

Two days running, the 2006 U.S. Open champion has bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes here at the 89th PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Which means he has given up four shots. Four precious shots when you consider Ogilvy and the field are chasing one Tiger Woods.

"He's the best front-runner in history," Ogilvy said.

But frustrated? Hardly.

"It's hard to talk to a guy after just splaying the last two holes," he said. "I'm a little bit annoyed.

"I'm happy where I am. Hopefully, if I play decent, I'm playing good enough. If I hit a couple more fairways, I'm putting good enough that I think I could ...
if I get a few birdie putts I could make one of the birdies there."

Like he said, he just has to hit more fairways. Friday, he hit just five fairways; Thursday he hit seven.

Friday, he was keeping pace with Woods on the back nine and tied him at 5 under. Then he missed those last two fairways. At 17, he failed to get up and down from the bunker. At 18? He had a "reasonable" par putt and missed it.

"I played good for the first seven of the back nine," he said, noting that 18 is an awkward hole for him. "Tried to find a way to win it. What are you going to do other than hit it on the fairways the last couple of holes. That's what happens if you don't hit the fairway."

In the opening round, he was -- by his own admission -- a pretty sneaky 69.

"I was all over the place for the first 11 holes," he said. "I had four birdies in the last six holes to shoot 1 under, which was a pretty good save, really, because it could have gone completely the wrong way. Three under after 11 is not where you want to be."

But he's contending. Something he hasn't done as much of this season as he would have thought.

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After losing to Henrik Stenson in the finals of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, he finished tied for third at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, but faded to a tie for 24th at the Masters, tied for 42nd at the U.S. Open and missed the cut at last month's Open Championship. His best finish during that stretch was a tie for ninth at The Memorial.

"I've been a little surprised how poorly I've played most of the year," he said. "You start rusty and you just expect the rust to go away. I've never really found it this year. I think when you don't make a lot of putts that doesn't help."

This might. One major gets you into the club. A second one validates the first.

"I wouldn't really mind about validation," he said. "Just be nice to win it. It would just nice to win a golf tournament. The fact it was a major it would be really nice. I mean, you get into more elite company when you've won two. And even more if you got more, you go on from there. It's just nice to play well in the biggest tournaments in the world and historic tournaments in the majors. It's nice to play and win them."

Nicer yet, if you can run down Tiger in the process.

"I mean, Tiger Woods, he's just a good player," Ogilvy said. "He does pretty well when he leads off for two rounds and even better when he leads out for three rounds. So I guess that is kind of ominous. But at some point he's not going to win."

Someone pointed out that Ogilvy didn't have to worry about Tiger when he won at Winged Foot. Tiger missed the cut. Now, everyone has to go get that man with that front-running record.

"Makes it easier, doesn't it, because now you've got nothing to lose if you don't win," Ogilvy said. "No one expects you to. If you do, you go out and do it. That's the way I look at it. You know you'll have to play well ... If you've got someone to chase, maybe you play a bit freer. Maybe it's a good thing."

But only if you hit fairways.

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