Geoff Ogilvy is savouring his return to Augusta National and its “Melbourne-like” greens.
The drive into Augusta National was sweeter for the 2006 US Open champion who, through a dip in form, failed to qualify for the past two Masters after playing seven straight from his debut in 2006.
Now Ogilvy feels ready to build on a solid Augusta resume.
The Victorian has just one top-10 finish at the course, a tie for fourth in 2011, but he’s never missed a cut and five of his seven starts finished inside the top 25.
“It’s just good to be back. It’s just such a cool place, and it’s great when they let you in the gate,” said Ogilvy on Monday.
“For a couple of years there, they didn’t really want to let me in.
“It’s pretty miserable when you’ve got used to coming here and you miss it.
“I feel like I’m playing all right. If I can make a few putts, good things might happen.
“I get inspired out here on Melbourne-like greens.”
Inspiration on the greens is what the 37-year-old needs.
In his best finish in 2011 the eight-time tour winner needed just 111 putts and was ranked third in the field in that key statistic on Augusta’s lightning quick greens.
The same year on the US PGA tour he ranked 21st in strokes gained putting and was red hot inside 10 feet.
But the magic has dwindled and Ogilvy ranked 46th in 2012, dropped to 155th in 2013, was 150th in 2014 and is at a lowly 205th so far this season.
In his six starts this season his best result was a tie for 27th in a 34-man field at Kapalua in early January and his most recent start two weeks ago in San Antonio produced ugly scores of 80 and 82 in windy conditions.
To freshen up he went with a group of mates to nearby Sea Island, playing keenly competitive money games, the sort of fun he revels in.
“San Antonio was disappointing but I am hitting the ball better than I ever have so I love where my game is at,” an upbeat Ogilvy told AAP.
“A good week is coming for sure. I know I am a week or two away from having a good result and hopefully it is this week.
“I feel like if I get a sniff on Sunday I will probably hang in there all right.
“That’s the key for me, I just have to get amongst it.”