By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
Louis Oosthuizen is certainly enjoying his time at the HSBC Champions. He can thank his putter for a good part of it.
Showing the same form that won him the 2010 British Open, Oosthuizen tied the event record with a 9-under 63 — setting the 36-hole scoring mark in a WGC event in the process — to take a five-shot lead at 16 under on The Olazabal Course at Mission Hills on Friday in Shenzhen, China.
“I made putts,” said Oosthuizen, also 11 under on the par 5s this week. “I putted great.”
Before those putts started to fall, Oosthuizen opened par-bogey. But then he birdied Nos. 3 and 5, eagled the seventh, and then birdied Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11. He also birdied 15 and 16.
Ernie Els, who carded a 29 on the front nine (which would tie his lowest on the PGA TOUR) en route to a 63, was at 11 under with Adam Scott (68).
Jason Dufner (66) and Shane Lowry (68) were tied for fourth at 10 under. Phil Mickelson (69) and Dustin Johnson (68) were tied for sixth at 9 under.
Oosthuizen, who has birdied or eagled every par 5 through 36 holes, didn’t win on the PGA TOUR this season, but did record five top-five finishes.
“Still two rounds left,” Oosthuizen told Golf Channel. “I’m going to go out tomorrow, same game plan, give myself as many birdie putts as I can and just hope I can make some putts like I did today.”
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- Louis Oosthuizen
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- Bill Cooney