Louis sitting pretty as wind gets up
Louis Oosthuizen added his name to the list of surprise leaders of The Open before 40mph gusts suspended play for just over an hour.
South African Louis Oosthuizen added his name to the list of surprise leaders of The Open in Friday’s second round before 40mph winds suspended play for just over an hour in mid-afternoon.
In eight previous majors the 27-year-old South African had missed seven halfway cuts – and in the other he slumped to closing rounds of 81 and 77 and finished last of those who made the cut.
But after adding a superb, wind and rain lashed 5-under par 67 to his opening 65 Oosthuizen will go into the weekend on a championship record-equalling 12 under par.
Not that he could be sure of going to bed at the top of the leaderboard.
When the action resumed at 3.45pm, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, one of the late starters following his record-breaking opening 63 on Thursday, had played only three holes.
From two ahead overnight, however, the 21-year-old had fallen three behind and that became four when he bogeyed the 480-yard fourth.
Tiger Woods, winner of the last two Opens at the Home of Golf and round in 67 on day one, had even longer to wait than McIlroy to try to bridge an even wider gap.
A three-putt bogey on the first green – the first was left eight feet short just before the decision was taken to bring the players in – dropped the world number one to four under and eight adrift.
Nearest to Oosthuizen in the clubhouse at that stage was 50-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, seven under par and continuing the recent trend of golden oldies making their presence felt in this prestigious event.
England’s Paul Casey would have been only three behind but for a triple bogey seven at the feared 17th, where he needed two attempts to get out of rough that he would like to see “thinned out” on such a tough hole.
Casey still likes where he is in the tournament – but not as much as Oosthuizen.
“It’s probably the position anyone wants to be in,” said the man who won his first European Tour title in Spain in March and with it climbed into the world’s top 50 to qualify for The Masters.
“It’s what we work to achieve and I’m just very happy with the two rounds I put together.”
So he should be. Although he teed off at 6.41am, long before the course became unplayable, he had to play through driving rain and yet had a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth to move out in front.
There were ups and downs after that, but a closing birdie enabled him to match the record mark – in relation to par – established by Nick Faldo and Greg Norman at the venue in 1990.
“St Andrews is where it all started. I think it’s everyone’s dream to win the Open Championship, but to win it at St Andrews is just…you never really think it’ll happen.”
He just laughed, though, when somebody asked if his major record might have made him fix up other things for the weekend.
“I was planning on making the cut. I’ve booked a house until Sunday night,” he said.
Casey’s adventure on the 17th – he did come back with a birdie on the last – means he goes into the weekend alongside world number three Lee Westwood.
Third last year at Turnberry, Westwood has kept himself in the hunt despite his ruptured calf muscle.
His second round 71 contained 17 pars and a lone birdie on the long fifth.
Only one further back after a seven-birdie 68 is US Open champion Graeme McDowell, but Masters winner Phil Mickelson improved only two shots on his opening 73 to be down on level par.
Justin Rose, playing with Woods, also three-putted the first and was one under.
Local knowledge helps Robin Roussel claim a share of the Alfred Dunhill lead
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson lies a shot behind following a 66.
Paul Casey a surprise entrant for 2021 Saudi International
Casey opted out of the inaugural event in 2019, citing concerns over the country’s human rights record.
Joy, relief as golf courses in England given green light to reopen from December 2
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the good news on Monday.
Joachim B Hansen makes up for Italian Open disappointment with Joburg victory
The Dane withdrew from the final round in Italy after his caddie tested positive for Covid-19.
Joachim B Hansen launches late fightback to win Joburg Open
Hansen trailed by three shots with nine holes to play but won by two strokes.
Matt Wallace shrugs off loss of caddie to Covid-19 to grab share of RSM Classic lead
Wallace’s regular caddie, Dave McNeilly, tested positive for Covid but a local caddie was ready to step in.
Wilco Nienaber admits ‘it’s great to be home’ after strong first round
The South African fired an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys in an opening eight-under-par 63.
From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast: Shane Lowry on Masters experience, playing with Tiger
Open champion Shane Lowry spills the beans on his Masters experience and playing three rounds with Tiger Woods.
Petition to exempt golf from lockdown set for Parliamentary debate next week
The document has received more than 257,000 signatures.