Birdie blitz lifts Oosthuizen into Africa Open lead
06 Jan 2012 - 18:16:39
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen returned a birdie-saturated 11-under-par 62 on Friday to surge into a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Africa Open.
It was a welcome return to top form by the 2010 Open winner, who has not finished first in a European Tour event since lifting the Africa Open trophy after a play-off here 12 months ago.
Oosthuizen, a 29-year-old native of Western Cape town Mossel Bay, admitted before the first tournament on the 2012 Road to Dubai teed off that he might be distracted as his wife is expecting their second child.
But there was no holding him back as he atoned for a modest opening 69 with a round that included one eagle and nine birdies, and was just one stroke outside the course record set by compatriot Richard Sterne.
South Africans Tjaart van der Walt (second-round 64), former Major winner Retief Goosen (68), first-round leader Thomas Aiken (69) and Jaco Ahlers (68) share second place on 133 at the par-73, 6,190-metre East London Golf Club.
Swede Magnus Carlsson (65) is alone on 134, one stroke ahead of Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Danny Willett (68) and Scots Alastair Forsyth (66) and Craig Lee (67).
The fifth and sixth holes on a course beside the Indian Ocean were the most memorable for Oosthuizen, whose seven-stroke British Open triumph ranks among the biggest Major upsets since the turn of the century.
His eagle chip at the fifth lipped the cup and stayed out, but he made amends at the sixth by sinking a 50-foot eagle putt for the highlight of a near flawless golf exhibition.
"I was aggressive with my putter, going about six feet past a few times and then making par putts. In the opening round I was short with too many putts," said Oosthuizen.
"As for that monster 50 footer -- I saw the line of the putt but was not sure so I asked my caddie and he saw exactly the same line. I hit a perfect putt and it went straight in the middle of the hole."
The wind that can wreak havoc on a part-parkland, part-links course that is among the shortest on the European Tour circuit stayed away and Oosthuizen was not the only competitor to revel in the calm conditions.
Van der Walt and Englishman Matthew Baldwin, who is five shots off the pace, each fired a nine-under-par 64 and there were rounds of 65 from Carlsson and South African Jaco van Zyl.