Louis Oosthuizen posted 66 on Saturday to head into the final round of the Shell Houston Open with a two-stroke lead, and with The Masters a week away, heÂs peaking at the perfect time.
ÂI’m feeling like I’m swinging it well, playing well, and any good finish here is great to go take into Augusta,Â he said. The Africa Open champion thundered around the back stretch in 31 and left the field behind, moving to 17-under with world number 14 Hunter Mahan lying second at 15-under.
ÂIt’s a good opportunity for tomorrow, go out there and play and, you know, have fun. And it’s great and it will be tough, but I feel like I’m ready for it,Â said Oosthuizen.
The 29-year-old stumbled at the start of the day, dropping shots at the first and second, but the same nerve that made him the 2010 Open Champion came through, and by the time the Mossel Bay resident reached the turn he was one-under for the day.
ÂYeah. It was a rough start. You know, two bunkers on the first hole, which is never ideal. I got the wind drawing on the second shot on 2. Hit a really good shot. Just hit it straight through the gust and ended up hitting it way long. But yeah, after that, I settled down, and, you know, got my first birdie on the 6th and then I hit good shots all day and made some nice putts on the back-9,Â he said.
And there was no exaggeration in that Â Oosthuizen strung together birdies from the 12th to the 15th before adding a final birdie at 17 to reach six-under, which he retained all the way to the clubhouse.
ÂThose two par-5s close to each other, you always feel like you want a good stretch there. But, you know, it was such a beautiful back-9 really with the weather and the sun dropping, such a nice place out there, and, you know, which was good, and just felt when we turned on 15, I was playing down the sun and the golf course looked spectacular,Â he said.
And if Oosthuizen has the confidence in his game to enjoy the course while heÂs out there shooting the lights out, then we may find him lifting the trophy one week before heading for Augusta.
Ernie Els has been steady through the week and heads into Sunday at eight-under and in a share of 14th, while he might not be able to claim victory and play his way into The Masters, he could impress enough to earn an invite.