Banned Ogletree wins International Series Egypt

American Andy Ogletree carded a 8-under 62 on Sunday in Cairo to win the Asian Tour’s International Series Egypt by four shots over Bernd Wiesberger.

Ogletree took advantage, holding a three-shot advantage through three rounds and then never letting up Sunday to win US$270,000 from the US$1.5 million purse and earn a two-year exemption on the Asian Tour.

“Andy Andy Ogletree (Credit: Asian Tour)

“This is amazing, just incredible,” said Ogletree about his breakthrough win.

“I have always been a huge fan of match play, and that is kind of what it came to in the end; it was basically a two-man race. I just tried to keep matching what [Bernd] was doing, I kept making a lot of putts. Fortunately, I was able to play better than Bernd; he’s a great player, and it was really awesome to come out on top.”

The victory is significant not just because it marked Ogletree’s first world-ranked title of his professional career but also because he is currently serving a suspension by the PGA Tour for competing in the inaugural LIV Golf event in London last June.

By playing in the LIV Golf London, Ogletree was suspended from playing in PGA Tour and tour-affiliated tournaments, even though he was not a PGA Tour member. LIV Golf moved on without Ogletree as it filled up its spots with other players meaning that the only option remaining was the Asian Tour, which has a partnership with LIV Golf.

The former star amateur has competed on its International Series, making starts in Singapore, Korea and Morocco.

Before turning professional Ogletree was an All-American at Georgia Tech who won the 2019 US Amateur and finished in a share of 20th at the 2020 Masters. He had struggled with starts and without a place to play he signed up for the inaugural LIV Golf event in London back in June. He finished last out of the 48-field event, yet still received US$120,000 for his efforts.

“I have no regrets,” said Ogletree of his decision to join LIV.

“My big thing was I just wanted a guaranteed place to play. I didn’t feel I was getting better playing Monday qualifiers. And playing mini-tours.”

“It gave me somewhere to play. It gave me the opportunity to get into the Asian Tour as well.”

The International Series is part of the Asian Tour, an elevated series of tournaments that is fully backed by LIV Golf Investments. Purses are US$1 million to US$1.5 million this year with an increase expected in 2023. The Order of Merit leader is expected to get a LIV Golf spot in 2023.

Travis Smyth finished the best of the Australians in a share of 12th position, with Todd Sinnott and Kevin Yuan a shot back in a share of 13th position. Scott Hend and Brett Rumford rounded out the Aussies in the top-25.