48-under: Louis’ last 11 Old Course rounds

144th Open Championship - Day OneHe has shot over 70 just once in his last 11 rounds on the Old Course at St Andrews, and the 2010 champion Louis Oosthuizen underlined his pedigree on Thursday with an opening 67 in the 144th Open Championship.

That left him nicely poised two off the lead held by Dustin Johnson, who carded a flawless seven-under-par 65 with an eagle and five birdies on a day on which the wind picked up throughout and the temperatures dropped.

Oosthuizen picked up a bogey-five on the testing 13th for his only blemish, but his five-under start is the latest in an extraordinary run at the ‘Home of Golf’ since the opening round of his 2010 triumph there gave him the leg-up which saw him canter home on the Sunday with his one-under 71.

His rounds on the Old Course since that opening salvo in 2010 add up to an extraordinary 48-under-par, and include missed cuts in the Dunhill Links Championship in 2012 and 2013, where not being in the final rounds of those tournaments robbed him of the chance to add some more sub-70 tours of the hallowed links to his resume.

He has carded 65, 67, 69, 71, 69, 69, 69, 68, 62, 68 and 67 since he started out on his way to his first major championship – and that was two shots off the hot pace set by Rory McIlroy that year.

Given Oosthuizen’s obvious comfort at St Andrews, and the approaching bad weather that is forecast for Friday and Saturday in Scotland, there has to be a very good chance that the man who raced through the field on the final day of the US Open to finish second behind Jordan Spieth is going to be in the mix again on Sunday.

Oosthuizen raced past Johnson on that final day at Chambers Bay as the big-hitting American squandered a few opportunities to win there with what appeared to be poor putting.

There is no obvious mental scarring for Johnson, who is eerily unanimated in his media interactions: “Well, you know, nothing bad happened at Chambers Bay, so it’s not like I was disappointed, really,” he intoned after his first round.

“I played really well, did everything I was supposed to. I couldn’t control what the ball was doing on the greens there. There’s really no bad feelings from that, only good.”

The test will come if Oosthuizen and other put pressure on him during the final round at St Andrews – a place which really seems to be King Louis’ domain.

 

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