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On the Bubble
Gary Van Sickle
October 26, 1998
At the Las Vegas Invitational, the name of the game was making the number
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October 26, 1998

On The Bubble

At the Las Vegas Invitational, the name of the game was making the number

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Last week Quigley split time between chores and working on his game at Rhode Island Country Club, anything to lake his mind off making the top 125, if that's possible. "I haven't seen any scores this week," he reported on Friday afternoon. "I didn't want to know what anybody was doing. So a buddy calls me this morning and says, 'Holy cow, David Ogrin is tied for the lead! He's going to pass you this week.' I said, 'You called me at 7:30 to tell me that? Thanks a lot.' It's a slow death."

Quigley believes his dilemma is rooted in the success he had last February, when he won $74,400 by tying for fourth in Hawaii. A few more good finishes, he figured, and.... Oops. "I was thinking about results, not the process," he says. "When I do that, I have no chance." The 29-year-old Quigley got back on track in September, making four straight cuts. He was in contention going into the weekend at the Texas Open and the Buick Challenge, but slipped to 73rd and 39th, respectively. "The 125 is all you're thinking about,"' he says. "You make a bogey on the weekend and you wonder, How much is that going to cost me?"

Quigley was taught that lesson in the final round at Las Vegas in '97, when the tournament was the last full-field event of the year. He birdied four holes in a row on the back nine but three-putted the par-3 17th and came in 23rd. Later he learned that if he had parred the 17th and cut just one other stroke off his total, he would have won enough to knock Neal Lancaster out of the 125th position. "As painful as that was," says Quigley, who had drifted to 128th in earnings after last week's tournament, "I'd love to have that opportunity again."

On Friday evening Quigley's luck turned: He found out that he's going to Disney World after all, on a sponsor's exemption. He's $6,133 behind the new Mr. Bubble, Dave Stockton Jr. "I'm as excited as I've been all year," Quigley says. "At least I have a chance. That's all I can ask."

Ogrin missed a golden opportunity in Las Vegas. A 16-year veteran, Ogrin was 132nd on the money list at the start of the week. When he tied for the lead after two rounds, it looked as if he was about to go deep, the way he had several times while passing the half-million mark in winnings the past two years. Instead, a disastrous fourth-round 76 sentenced him to 36th place, for which he won $8,611 to crawl to 131st on the money list. "A lot of guys would kill to make 21 cuts like I have this year," said a frustrated Ogrin, "but you don't zoom past anybody when you finish 35th every week."

The difference between Ogrin's banner years and '98 is a never-on-Sunday problem. He ranked 155th in final-round scoring average coming into Vegas, where he closed with a weak 71. His play on the par-5 16th was emblematic. He inexplicably dumped a 65-yard sand wedge shot into the pond fronting the green, then threw down another ball and stuck it two feet from the pin. "That's the way I've played all year," Ogrin said. "I feel like I've been running in glue."

Ogrin had planned to play the Disney regardless of where he stood on the money list—orders from his four children. Now he has to play, and play well, to reach the coveted 125. But he's going in with a plan. "Choking is worrying about results," Ogrin says. "I'm going to ride Space Mountain about a hundred limes and make myself sick. It's going to be a family week."

The Magic Kingdom would be more enjoyable if Ogrin had already reached the magic number. "If I had ripped off a couple 60-somethings, I could have knocked this thing out," he says, shaking his head. "What can you say? I crapped out in Las Vegas."

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