Ogletree cruises to first pro win at International Series Egypt – Golf Australia Magazine
The former amateur star found his feet in the play-for-pay game after firing a final round eight-under-par 62 to finish with a tournament total of 23-under and win by four shots from Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who returned a 63.
Korean Jeunghun Wang (64) and Sihwan Kim (65) from the United States tied for third, seven behind the winner. The result saw Sihwan Kim return to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit list.
Ogletree started the day with a three-shot advantage from Wiesberger and took a firm grip of the tournament by touring the front nine in four-under-par 32 with birdies on 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 with a dropped shot on 8 doing little damage to his lead.
He was four ahead of Wiesberger at the turn. The Austrian pushed hard to mount a challenge and eagled the par-4 10th after holing his second but Ogletree responded with a birdie on that hole to sit comfortably three in front.
Wiesberger closed to within two after a birdie on 13 but the 16th proved to be pivotal as the American made a birdie while Wiesberger dropped a shot to put the gap back to four.
Wiesberger made birdie on 17 but it still left Ogletree with the comfort of a three-shot lead going down the last, which he fittingly birdied to put the icing on the cake.
“This is amazing, just incredible,” said the rising star from Little Rock, Mississippi, who earned a cheque for US$270,000.
RIGHT: Ogletree celebrates another putt finding the bottom of the cup during his first professional win. PHOTO: Asian Tour.
“I have always been a huge fan of match play and that is kind of what it came to in the end, it was basically a two-man race. I just tried to keep matching what he was doing, I kept making a lot of putts. Fortunately, I was able to play better than Bernd, he’s a great player and it was really awesome to come out on top.”
The 24-year-old, who played on the golf team at Georgia Tech University, won the U.S. Amateur in 2019 and was part of the victorious American team at the Walker Cup the same year. He turned professional the following year and is a rookie on the Asian Tour this season.
Added Ogletree: “It has been an awesome week. First time in Egypt. I got to experience everything the tourists do, I went to the Pyramids, we stayed at a great hotel and the golf course was spectacular. It has just been a really awesome. My first trip to Egypt is one that I will never forget.”
Wiesberger was attempting to win his third Asian Tour title and first in nine years but found Ogletree just too good today.
“Yeah, I mean I take that [shooting a 63] going into Sunday in the last group,” said the 37-year-old, an eight-time winner on the DP World Tour.
“You know, it wasn’t good enough to throw everything at him. A couple of loose bogeys but other than that I did as much as I could. He holed a lot of putts when I was in position to do so. He had it going on the greens today so fair play to him. I played a good round and can be proud of myself.
“It was nice, good to stay competitive, good feeling, good golf course and tried to hit a lot of good shots. Coming in with a nice result is always a bonus as well.”
Wang’s finish is his best performance since coming back from 18-months of National Service several months ago.
Said Wang: “Actually I’m really happy with my score today because I didn’t make any bogeys. The first two rounds I didn’t really hit it good, especially my irons, but it’s getting better right now so hopefully I will play well next season.
“My first trip to Egypt is one that I will never forget.” – Andy Ogletree.
“Score-wise my game is okay, but my irons and driver I’m not really happy right now. I will probably go see my coach and fix something with my swing.”
Sihwan Kim who led the Merit list race for much of the year following two victories recaptured top sot from Korean Bio Kim. Sihwan has now earned U$615,208, while Bio Kim, who did not compete this week, is second with winnings of US$ $595,109.
Last year’s U.S. Amateur champion James Piot from the United States fired a 66 to finish in sole possession of fifth, eight back from Ogletree.