Ogilvy making run to get back into top 50
By STEVE REED
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Geoff Ogilvy made a bold charge Saturday and can only hope history repeats itself.
Ogilvy fell out of the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time in six years, dropping to No. 52. It's just a number for Ogilvy, who is exempt in all the majors and the other World Golf Championship.
He took advantage of moving day with a 7-under 65 to put himself into contention - four shots back - at the Wells Fargo Championship and potentially give a big boost to his rankings.
Not that he was ever worried about slipping completely off the map.
"I've been telling anyone who'd listen that I was actually playing well, just not scoring really well and not making many putts," Ogilvy said. "But everything was coming together all right. So I'm not really surprised to play well. It's nice to finally get a good score on the board. The first two days I hit the ball really well and just didn't get the ball in the hole."
The last time he fell out of the top 50 was on Feb. 19, 2006. He responded the following week with a victory - capturing the Accenture Match Play Championship.
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Third-round leader Webb Simpson said he's yet to make a "mental mistake" this week, attributing that to being a member at the Quail Hollow Club for the past 18 months.
Simpson's house is about a mile from the clubhouse.
"I made 10 (mental mistakes) last week in New Orleans, or maybe more than that," Simpson said. "I think that's where the local knowledge has helped me, especially around the greens, knowing where to miss certain shots. You just got to think really well and I've been able to do that fortunately."
Simpson also said he developed a lot of confidence heading into the weekend after outplaying playing partner Tiger Woods by 11 strokes over the first two days.
Woods missed the cut.
"It really did help," Simpson said. "I've only played with him one time at Doral, and so I think having played with him once at least, it helped me understand the crowds and people moving and all that. But it definitely did give me confidence walking away one shot out of the lead after playing with him."
SORRY ABOUT THAT: McIlroy removed his golf glove after his tee shot at No. 18, signed it and gave it to a fan he hit with an errant shot earlier in the round.
"Yeah, I hit him in the butt," McIlroy said. "So I did sign a golf glove and said, `Sorry.' He helped me out a little bit there. That ball was going into the trees and would have been a lot more difficult. It was nice to get a lucky break like that."
McIlroy hit an incredible drive on the par-4 16th, blistering one 377 yards down the right side of the fairway, leaving him with only 102 yards to the hole. But he finished with a bogey after three-putting from 15 feet.
McIlroy attributes his newfound strength to an intense weight program.
"I don't think I hit it any longer, I just don't need to try and hit it," McIlroy said. "So when I hit it, it just goes. I don't have to go after it quite as much."
He said the longest drive of his career was 405 yards.
MICKELSON WELL BACK: Phil Mickelson has finished in the top 50 in eight of the nine tournaments he's played this season and there's a good chance he'll add to that number Sunday.
But he's unlikely to win.
After a 4-under 68 on Saturday, Mickelson was tied for 30th, nine shots back behind leader Webb Simpson.
Still, Mickelson has something to lift his spirits next week. He'll be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla. on Monday.
FOWLER IN POSITION: Rickie Fowler, who dressed in a bright "lime punch" colored outfit Saturday, is already one of the more popular players on the PGA Tour.
Now he's looking for his first PGA Tour win.
He put himself in a great position to do that with a 67 Saturday, leaving him three shots off the pace.
"That would be awesome," Fowler said of the possibility of getting his first win. "This is one of the best events we play all year here at Quail Hollow. It's a packed leaderboard like you're talking about, and it would be nice to be on the top of it."
His lone title came in the Korean Open.
CREAM OF THE CROP: The Wells Fargo Championship has churned out an impressive list of champions during the tournament's nine-year history, including Woods, McIlroy, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Lucas Glover, Anthony Kim and Vijay Singh.
That doesn't surprise Ogilvy.
"This course demands you move the ball both ways," Ogilvy said. "If you really want to play the course well you've got to move the ball around in the air a little bit, think about it a little bit. It matters where you miss. We played a lot of golf courses where you really don't' have to worry about your misses too much. I think that's why you see the cream of the Tour winning this tournament. Pretty much every year it's a pretty solid player winning."
If McIlroy is able to sustain his strong play he'll become the first two-time champion. He also won in 2010.
DIVOTS: Simpson has gone 210 holes without recording a three-putt, the longest such streak on tour. ... D.A. Points wasn't expected to be among those competing for the championship. In his previous five starts, he made one cut in a tie for 63rd place. ... McIlroy will regain the No. 1 ranking in the world with a two-way tie for seventh or better. ... The 54-hole leader has gone on to win at Quail Hollow in four of the previous nine tournaments.
Updated May 5, 2012