PINEHURST, N.C. -- Joe Ogilvie was one of the last players to check in at the registration desk for the 114th U.S. Open in Pinehurst. He found his locker in the locker room then headed out, without even hitting any practice balls, to play the course that he had played numerous times with his college teammates.
It was late Tuesday evening and the only figures on the No. 2 course at Pinehurst were Ogilvie and his caddy. The course was much different than the one he used to play with his Duke buddies or even in the 2005 U.S. Open, but it was Pinehurst and he was very happy to be here walking the fairways of No. 2 one more time.
“It’s right in Duke’s backyard and it is always great to come back to North Carolina,” said Ogilvie, a 1996 Economics major from Lancaster, Ohio. “We played here quite a bit when I was in college. Durham has a clay-based soil and here is sand, so we would come down here quite a bit when it was wet in Durham. Coach Myers had us set up down here and we always had a great time. This is a very special place.”
Ogilvie, an honorable mention All-America at Duke in 1995, path to his seventh U.S. Open came through sectional qualifying in Memphis where he posted an eight-under 135 at Colonial Country Club to tie for third and advance. The PGA Tour veteran opened the day with a five-under 66 on the North course before carding a three-under 69 on the South course in the afternoon. He got off to the terrific start in the morning round with birdies on No. 1, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 7 to move to four-under. Ogilvie tacked on birdie on No. 10 and No. 13 to move deeper into red figures. He dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 14 before closing with a birdie-bogey finish to card one of the top rounds on the North course in the morning.
Ogilvie started well again in the second round with three birdies (No. 3, No. 6 & No. 9) on the front side of the South course. He dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 10 but quickly moved back to three-under with a birdie on the par 4 11th hole. Ogilvie carded his second bogey of the round on No. 13 before settling in with four straight pars and a birdie on the par 5 18th hole.
Thursday afternoon Ogilvie will tee off in his seventh U.S. Open, including the 2005 Open at Pinehurst. He also played in the U.S. Open in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013. He has made three U.S. Open cuts with a top finish of tie for 36th in 2008.
The thoughts of playing in one more U.S. Open meant a great deal to him at this point in his career.
“Especially being here at Pinehurst, making it maybe the last time definitely went through my mind,” explained Ogilvie, who now calls Austin, Texas home with his wife Colleen, daughters Lauren and Kaitlen and son Patrick. “I think the world of Crenshaw and Core as golf architects, so just to get to play Pinehurst with the redesign is awesome. I don’t really call it a redesign, I think of it more like a throwback to the way Ross wanted it to be and what it used to be. It’s very cool to get to play a course that was probably like this in the ‘30’s.”
At Duke, Ogilvie was a solid college golfer earning 1995 honorable mention All-America honors as well as All-ACC accolades in 1995 and 1996. He was at his best as a senior recording six top-5 finishes, including a third place finish in the 1996 ACC Championships, to go along with 10 rounds of under-par golf.
He turned pro in 1996, joined the PGA Tour in 1999 and has produced a pretty good 15-year run for the guy known affectionately in Durham as “Joe The Pro”.
Ogilvie has amassed over $10 million in career earnings on tour with a win at the 2007 US Bank Championship in Miwaukee sitting as his top finish. His victory in 2007 was the first PGA Tour win by a Blue Devil since Art Wall won the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1975. Ogilvie lost in a playoff at the 2005 Honda Classic to Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh earlier in his career. He also has four additional wins on the Nationwide/Nike Tour with two each in 1998 and 2003.
His best money season came in 2005 when he amassed $1,819,547.00 with a pair of second place finishes and from 2004-2008 he earned over $1 million each year. So far this year he has played in nine events, made three cuts and captured $42,177.00.
He turned 40 in April and knows there are a lot of younger players coming on the tour. In 2012, Ogilvie first developed some physical problems and was forced to withdraw from the Travelers Championship with a herniated disk in his back.
“This is probably it for me,” he said standing in the lobby of the locker room at the Pinehurst Country Club. “I have worked out a lot and kept in relatively good shape and good flexibility over the years, but I think putting, chipping and short game is what kept me out here. I’ve just been insatiably curious with pro-am partners and luckily I have had some sponsor exemptions and they have kept me out here maybe a little longer than I deserved.”
Of course there is another side to Ogilvie who in a poll of tour players was named the “Brightest Guy on the Tour.” He has even been mentioned as a candidate to be the next PGA Tour Commissioner. Ogilvie has always enjoyed the investment and financial side of the world listing Warren Buffett and Bill Gates as his heroes. He already has his next career started when he founded an investment advisory firm in 2007, Ogilvie Capital.
But this week is all about golf and Ogilvie is not only the elder statesmen among Blue Devil golfers at the U.S. Open, but the veteran on the tour as well. When he received his tour card in 1999 it had been 11 years since the last Blue Devil had been on the tour in Charlie Bolling
“I’ve tried to help out anyway that I can,” he said when talking about his fellow alumni on the tour. “Kevin (Streelman) has had such great success and Wes Roach is on the tour as well, and he should have a great career and Ryan Blaum is here at the Open with a real chance to make it on the Tour in the very near future.”
“The Duke culture from an academic and an athletic standpoint you want to do well,” he added. “You learn a lot from people around you at Duke and I think that once I got here on the tour it showed the other Duke guys that if I could get here then they could get here.”
Ogilvie will be teeing it up on Thursday on the 10th tee at 12:52 with playing partners Mark Wilson a 1997 University of North Carolina graduate and Ken Duke. The threesome will tee off #1 on Friday at 7:07 in the morning.