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Inside the ropes

Welcome to where a bogey isn't that bad

June 14, 2008|Mike James | Times Staff Writer

LA JOLLA -- He won the U.S. Open two years ago at Winged Foot without ever breaking par, so Geoff Ogilvy has learned that playing well doesn't necessarily mean scoring well. The lesson hit home between the third and fourth rounds of the 2006 tournament.

"Sunday morning I got a message from Judy Rankin at Winged Foot, that everyone always opens the paper on Monday morning after the U.S. Open and is surprised how high the winning score was," he said.

"I still think about that every time I play in the U.S. Open."

There's a vague mantra among players that they must learn how to win on tour, and beyond that, must learn how to contend in the majors. The lesson from Rankin, a Hall of Fame golfer and current golf commentator, helped crystallize that thought.

"Sometimes you can be contending in the U.S. Open and feel you're playing horribly, because you're bogeying holes," he said. "It's hard to know how you're playing sometimes, because you can be hitting good shots and still making bogeys. . . .

"The moral is it's never over. It's never over. And even though you're way over par, you're probably not out if it yet. . . . It helps you to hang in."

All of which explains why Ogilvy wasn't upset with his two-over-par 73 on Friday that left him at even par.

Putting it in reverse

Kevin Streelman and Justin Hicks, co-leaders at three under after Thursday, did what most obscure first-round rabbits of the Open do in Round 2. They hopped back into the hutch. Streelman triple-bogeyed the 198-yard third hole when he hit his tee shot into a bunker and smacked his second shot from a fried-egg lie over the green and into a hazard. His 77 left him at three over, so at least the tour rookie will be playing on the weekend in his first Open.

"I'm a little disappointed how I played today," he said, "but hopefully it's my bad round and I'll make a move tomorrow."

Hicks teed off at 12:41, and by 2:20, his name had disappeared from the leaderboard. Bogeys on three and five were followed by a double bogey on six, and his three-under total suddenly had ballooned to one over. He shot 40 on the front, 40 on the back for an 80 and heads into the weekend at six over.

Not-so sentimental journey

D.J. Trahan, whose 69 in the morning left him at one under and a stroke out of the lead at the time, hasn't had a warm spot in his heart for Torrey Pines. He has played the Buick Invitational since 2005, tying for 42nd and missing the cut the last two years.

"I can honestly say I never really looked forward to the Buick," he said, adding that the hard and fast conditions during the Open suit his game, but the soft greens in January do not.

"I come from the East Coast, man. We don't putt on sponges like this. . . . This will probably be my last time coming here, so I'll try to make the best of it."

Comeback rounds

Padraig Harrington, who opened with a miserable 78, shaved 11 strokes off his first effort with a four-under 67, and said he had actually hit the ball better Thursday. "Yesterday was very difficult on the greens in the afternoon," he said. "Every time I hit a slightly off shot, I was making at least a bogey . . . but I was holing the putts that I was missing yesterday."

Players champion Sergio Garcia, yet to win his first major, bounced back from his opening-round 76 with a one-under 70. "The positive thing is that I'm right back in the tournament and I'll now try to have a great weekend," he said.

And Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was four over after Day 1, made six birdies in a five-under 66, the lowest round of the week, to get to one under.

Torrey Pines' No. 1 Lakers fan

Tiger Woods overcame four bogeys on his first nine to vault into contention. But the big-time Lakers fan had a more difficult time Thursday evening, watching his team collapse to the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

"Oh, man, that was a rough night," he said.

And then bringing the lesson of that game to golf, he added, "I think the only time I have ever seen a such a big lead go away in our sport is probably with what Greg did in '96," referring to Greg Norman's collapse, when he gave up a six-shot lead on the final day to lose the Masters.

Chip shots

Luke Donald is from England, but he's right at home on Torrey Pines, where he has three top 10s in five appearances in the Buick Invitational, including second places in 2004 and 2005. He's had two consecutive 71s. . . . Vijay Singh four-putted the first hole on the way to a 78. . . . Some who failed to make the cut: Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Justin Rose, K.J. Choi, Charles Howell III, Lee Janzen, Bubba Watson and defending champion Angel Cabrera.

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mike.james@latimes.com

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