Oosthuizen takes lead in style

2013-01-12 00:00

LOUIS Oosthuizen finished in style on the final hole of the second day of the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban yesterday, nailing a lengthy birdie putt to finish as outright leader on 12-under, one shot ahead of Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee. He shared with Jamieson the round of the day, a blistering eight-under par 64, in another day of adverse conditions, with rain having flooded parts of the course overnight.

The scheduled start was delayed by an hour, but thankfully the second round was completed and all remains on track as the worst of the rain seems to have passed.

Oosthuizen, second after Thursday’s opening round, three shots behind Jaidee, teed-off last with the leader, the pair vying throughout the round for supremacy at the top of the leaderboard. Jaidee produced another solid effort, carding 68 to compliment his opening 65, including an eagle on the eighth, and is still a major contender for the victor’s spoils.

Jamieson briefly enjoyed the lead in the clubhouse before Oosthuizen’s exploits at the 18th and was pleased with his day’s work at the halfway stage of proceedings. Said Jamieson: “I enjoyed a great start, with birdies on three of the first four holes. From there, I kept it steady, hitting a lot of greens with quite a few shots ending within 15 feet of the hole. Thankfully, I was able to take advantage of most of them, making it count.”

And so he did, knocking in nine birdies, his only blemish a bogey at the par-four eleventh. It was a polished performance from the 101 ranked player in the world, once again demonstrating his liking for playing in the wet after winning the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Royal Durban last year in atrocious conditions.

“Maybe it should keep raining for the next couple of days. It seems a good thing for me. I found the fairways softer after the first day and the greens fractionally slower, but there was not a huge difference,” he said.

Oosthuizen was all smiles after his day’s exploits and it was not only for being the leader and producing the only bogey-free round in the tournament to date. For winning the day’s Pro-Am, he won a car and was told on the first tee that if he won a car, the sponsors would throw in an excavator as well.

“I’ve been nagging my wife for months saying I need an excavator on the farm. My only opportunity to win a car appeared to be a hole-in-one which was a chance in a million, but thankfully Thongchai and I won the Pro-Am with Colin Ledwith,” he said.

Overall, Oosthuizen was happier with how he struck the ball yesterday. “I had much better ball striking and although I missed a few short putts, particularly on the 16th when I misread the line, I had speed on the greens, which meant my long putts worked.

“Looking ahead to the next two rounds, I hope to maintain the same mind-set and give myself birdie opportunities. I need to be on my game and take some holes on, despite the risk factor involved. It’s a case of taking one shot at a time and I need to feel my driver is working and believe in my putter,” he said.

Commenting on Jamieson’s round, Oosthuizen said: “He won at Royal Durban and is a big contender.”

On playing with Jaidee, Ooshuizen said it kept him competitive and focused on his game. “We have played together on numerous occasions and he is a great player. It was good fun out there and I joked with him, saying we were friends for the Pro-Am but would be enemies for today and tomorrow’s rounds.”

Defending Volvo champion Branden Grace had a better round than his opening 75, finishing with 67 to be at two-under for the tournament. Retief Goosen recorded 70 to also be at two-under, while Ernie Els shot an even 72 to remain at four-under. Six players are on five-under, chasing the leading pack of Oosthuizen, Jaidee and Jamieson.

SCORES

132 Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 68 64

133 Scott Jamieson (Britain) 69 64, Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) 65 68

139 Julien Quesne (France) 72 67, Shane Lowry (Ireland) 70 69, Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) 69 70, Paul Lawrie (Britain) 69 70, Jeev Milkha Singh (India) 69 70, Danny Willett (Britain) 69 70

140 Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 73 67, Francesco Molinari (Italy) 70 70, Ernie Els (South Africa) 68 72

141 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spain) 72 69, Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 70 71, Jamie Donaldson (Britain) 69 72

142 Retief Goosen (South Africa) 72 70, Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 72 70, Branden Grace (South Africa) 75 67, Richie Ramsay (Britain) 69 73

143 Paul Casey (Britain) 74 69, Darren Clarke (Britain) 75 68

144 Robert Rock (Britain) 70 74, Matteo Manassero (Italy) 75 69

145 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spain) 75 70

146 Michael Hoey (Britain) 72 74, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) 74 72

147 Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark) 75 72, Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) 76 71

148 Marcel Siem (Germany) 74 74, Jbe Kruger (South Africa) 75 73, Darren Fichardt (South Africa) 78 70

150 Colin Montgomerie (Britain) 72 78

152 Ricardo Santos (Portugal) 76 76

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