Classy Oosthuizen grabs five-shot HSBC lead
DONGGUAN, China (AFP) –
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen picked up six shots in just five holes on the way to a red-hot 63 and a big five-stroke lead in the $7 million WBC-HSBC Champions on Friday.
An eagle on the par-five seventh sparked a blazing run from the 2010 British Open winner, who birdied his next four along with 15 and 16 for a nine-under-par round and a total of 16-under 128 at southern China’s par-72 Mission Hills.
Oosthuizen’s round, blotted only by an early bogey on the second, opened up a healthy advantage over a top-quality chasing pack led by Adam Scott and Ernie Els, who were tied on 11 under par.
“You can see there’s a lot of birdies out there with five par-fives,” said Oosthuizen, who was greeted at the clubhouse by his wife and young daughters, who are travelling with him.
“But I’m making it easy for myself — I’m hitting a lot of good shots. It’s far from over, there’s a lot of golf left. I need a good round tomorrow to get myself in position for Sunday.”
Four-time Major-winner Els turned at seven under par and added two more birdies on his way back for a 63, matching his fellow countryman Oosthuizen, while Scott shot 68.
Phil Mickelson, the event’s only double winner, was set for a share of second place until he found greenside rocks on the 18th for double-bogey, dropping down to tied sixth with Dustin Johnson.
Jason Dufner, Mickelson and Johnson’s American Ryder Cup team-mate, shot 66 to share fourth spot with Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who had 68.
Scott, who had shared the first-round lead with Oosthuizen, played a sumptuous front nine studded with four birdies but he stumbled on his return with three bogeys and another three birdies.
“I played OK today — I got off to a good start but on the back nine I missed a few greens and I had to scramble, and it’s tough when it’s fast around the greens,” said Scott.
The Australian escaped from a bunker on the third hole for his first birdie of the day, and he picked up further shots on four and five to take a two-shot lead early in the round.
A inappropriate cry of “Adam, we love you!” from two female marshals spurred him on, but it was Oosthuizen who then took charge with his eagle on the par-five seventh, cueing up a birdie blitz around the turn.
Oosthuizen birdied the par-three eighth, escaped out of a bunker to within a foot on nine, drained a 20-footer on 10 and then chipped to an unmissable distance on 11.
Two more birdies on 15 and 16 completed a pleasing day’s work for the 30-year-old, who now has great chance of recording his sixth win and the second biggest of his career, after the 2010 Open.