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Tantrum helps Ogilvy find putting groove in Melbourne

Home club member Geoff Ogilvy going into the final round of the Australian Masters today, December 18, 2011, with a two-stroke lead over Ian Poulter of the UK. — Reuters picHome club member Geoff Ogilvy going into the final round of the Australian Masters today, December 18, 2011, with a two-stroke lead over Ian Poulter of the UK. — Reuters picMELBOURNE, Dec 18 — Geoff Ogilvy has rarely been known for losing control of his emotions, but credited an “embarrassing” loss of temper for helping him charge into the lead of his home Australian Masters after the third round yesterday.

The former US Open champion cut a frustrated figure on his home course at Victoria Golf Club during the opening round on Thursday, and his putter was the first casualty.

Slamming it into his bag after a bogey late in his first round of level-par 71, he discovered the putter was bent out of shape, forcing him to putt the last two holes with a wedge.

“You don’t like doing stuff like that,” Ogilvy told reporters after taking a two-stroke lead over Britain’s Ian Poulter with a course-record-equalling 63. “It’s not the first time I have bent a putter.

“It’s not very nice to get yourself into that frustration, if you like. More than that, it’s kind of embarrassing to finish the last couple of holes putting with a wedge or putting with something other than your putter.

“But it happens. Golf is a frustrating game.”

The replacement mallet putter, one he had been previously too scared to use, proved an unlikely panacea as it pulled him back in contention with a second-round 66 and propelled him into a winning position yesterday.

“I have travelled with this putter actually for, I don’t know, three or four months. I’ve just had it in the bag,” the moustachioed Ogilvy told reporters after his nine-birdie, one-eagle round.

“I took it out on a practice round in the Australian Open because I wanted to use it, and wasn’t brave enough and put it back in.

“Obviously this week I had a perfect opportunity to try it yesterday and today. So it’s obviously gone very well.

“I don’t think any putter is any better than any other putter... but I think you get bored of looking at the same thing. Your brain likes to look at something new.”

Ogilvy stands on the brink of a drought-breaking victory in front of home fans after a winless year of frustration on the US Tour, marred by successive injuries.

Victory will be all the more sweet for the 34-year-old Australian, who will fight with Poulter at the course where he has been a member since his junior days. — Reuters