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LIV GOLF RESERVES OGLETREE, VINCENT THRIVING ON INTERNATIONAL SERIES

News
Written by
Mike McAllister
May 04 2023
- 5 min
K Vincent mobile

SENTOSA ISLAND, Singapore – Kieran Vincent, winner of the recent International Series event in Vietnam, was approached last week at Sentosa Golf Club by someone who simply wanted to offer congratulations on the victory. 

Well, it wasn’t just any someone. It was two-time major champion Dustin Johnson. 

“I don’t get that every week,” Vincent said with a smile. 

It was an eye-opening experience for Vincent at LIV Golf Singapore presented by Resorts World Sentosa. He and fellow International Series winners Andy Ogletree and Wade Ormsby were the three reserve players at Sentosa, awaiting any opportunity to play should a regular LIV Golf League member need to withdraw.  

The three were tabbed for reserve status thanks to their positions on the International Series Order of Merit. Ogletree leads through the first four tournaments this season, with Vincent in the No. 3 spot and Ormsby at No. 4. (Takumi Kanaya, ranked No. 2, competed at last week's Japan Golf Tour event, finishing tied for 13th).

Ultimately, the reserves were not needed. But having opportunities to practice alongside, and possibly compete against, LIV Golf’s elite 48-man roster is one of the prime benefits of success on the International Series, the elevated 10 events supported by LIV Golf on the Asian Tour.  

Of course, the biggest benefit is the pathway to playing privileges on LIV. The International Series Order of Merit leader at the end of the season is guaranteed a full-season roster spot for the 2024 LIV Golf League and will join one of the 12 teams. 

“The upside of playing well on the International Series is huge,” Ogletree said. 

“Everyone wants that coveted Golden Ticket,” added Vincent. 

Vincent has up-close knowledge of what kind of opportunities await the International Series’ best player.  

Last year, his older brother Scott was the Order of Merit champ and rewarded with a spot on Kevin Na’s Iron Heads GC lineup this season. Scott Vincent also played in LIV Golf events last season, but his status for 2023 was not guaranteed until December after the final International Series event, the Indonesian Masters. 

If Scott can finish in the top 24 in points this season in the LIV Golf League and Kieran can finish the season at the top of the International Series points standings, the Zimbabwe natives would become the second set of brothers in LIV Golf, joining the Koepka boys, Brooks and Chase. 

“How cool would that be?” said Scott, who tied a LIV Golf record by shooting 62 in the second round at Sentosa en route to a solo fourth, his best result in a LIV Golf event. “It’s easy to speculate about what could happen. Everyone’s aware of that. But we’ll just let him do his thing. He’s good enough.” 

The brothers are five years apart; Scott is 30, Kieran is 25. So they’ve rarely had an opportunity to compete at the same level.  

“We kind of just missed each other,” Kieran said. “But throughout, we got to practice a bunch. He’s kind of led a journey and so I’ve just been able to carve my way and seen the good and bad parts – and stick with the good and leave the bad behind. So it’s been good to have him part the way ahead of me.” 

The International Series is now the way for either Ogletree or Vincent in terms of reaching the next level of their careers.  

Ogletree, the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion, won in Egypt late last season, then claimed his second International Series win in Qatar in February. The latest win moved him to the top of the Order of Merit standings.  

“The International Series is great,” said Ogletree said. “It gives me somewhere to play and somewhere to build my schedule, somewhere to have events to look forward to. It’s been very beneficial in my career.” 

Even if it wasn’t exactly the career path he expected after winning the U.S. Amateur. Having grown up in Mississippi, Ogletree expected to cut his teeth on American-based circuits. But he could never gain status, and when he decided to play the inaugural LIV Golf London event last season, it gave him an opportunity to change directions and try something different. 

“I didn’t realize how good the competition was in Asia,” Ogletree said. “Growing up, I didn’t get to see the Asian Tour much on TV in America. But now that I’ve been over here, played with a lot of the players and see the guys that have played the Asian Tour for 15, 20 years – all of them are really good play. Surrounding myself with those guys has definitely made me better.” 

And now he’s thriving on the golf course. He’s also enjoying life on the Asian Tour, able to visit different parts of the world, gain a perspective he might otherwise not have experienced. He’s developed a friendship with another young golfer, Turk Pettit, who won the 2021 NCAA men’s golf title and also played in some LIV events last year. Two budding stars taking on the world. 

“I grew up in a small town in Mississippi and now I’m basically traveling the world full-time,” Ogletree said. “It’s really cool.” 

Just like Ogletree – and just like brother Scott – Kieran Vincent also has embraced the new direction in his career. 

“LIV has obviously created a different pathway where you can go and visit unique countries,” Vincent said. “There’s so many different cultures in and throughout the Asian Tour, and now throughout LIV Golf. It’s just so surreal to be a part of it. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.”