Oosthuizen shakes off injury to shine

Louis Oosthuizen bounced back from a tweaked back to finish with a 69 on the first day at the Masters.

Oosthuizen reported to his agent that he had hurt his back on Wednesday evening when he scooped up his daughter for a hug.

“It was a bit of a scary moment,” Oosthuizen said of the potentially costly embrace.

While the South African came second in a play-off at Augusta in 2012, he has missed the cut in his other four attempts and has been plagued by injury. So it goes without saying that he wasn’t on many favourites’ lists for the title.

But the man with the Shrek smile found some form at Augusta, carding six birdies in his round. Bogeys on the first, 12th and the former home of Ike’s Tree 17th left him one shot behind leader Bill Haas.

“Luckily, my back wasn’t a problem when I woke up this morning. It was good,” revealed the 31-year-old.

“Some days are good, some are bad. I’m just managing it. One of the things I need to manage is to not pick up my girl when she runs toward me.

“Hopefully it will be fine the next three days.”

The back problems have hindered his preparation as he struggles to swing through and bend over to putt. Oosthuizen considered having an epidural injection in March, but he decided against it in the end.

The former Open Championship winner has had a mixed start to the year, with a best of tied fifth at the WGC Match Play. However, he failed to make the cut at the Valspar Championship and the Houston Open. Despite the dip in results, he feels his game is improving.

“I’ve been feeling it for a while,” said the unpredictable Oosthuizen, who double-eagled the par five second in 2012.

“That gives you confidence you can do well on this golf course.”