Sun, Jan 08, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Oosthuizen surges into the lead in Africa Open

AFP, EAST LONDON, SOUTH AFRICA

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen returned a birdie-saturated 11-under-par 62 on Friday to surge into a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Africa Open.

It was a welcome return to top form by the 2010 Open winner, who has not finished first in a European Tour event since lifting the Africa Open trophy after a nail-biting play-off 12 months ago.

Oosthuizen, a 29-year-old native of Western Cape town Mossel Bay, admitted before the first tournament on this year’s Road to Dubai teed off that he might be distracted, as his wife is expecting their second child.

However, there was no holding him back as he atoned for a modest opening-69 with a round that included one eagle and nine birdies, and was just one stroke outside the course record set by compatriot Richard Sterne.

South Africans Tjaart van der Walt (second-round 64), former Major winner Retief Goosen (68), first-round leader Thomas Aiken (69) and Jaco Ahlers (68) share second place on 133 at the par-73, 6,190m East London Golf Club.

Swede Magnus Carlsson (65) is alone on 134, one stroke ahead of Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Danny Willett (68), and Scots Alastair Forsyth (66) and Craig Lee (67).

The fifth and sixth holes on a course beside the Indian Ocean were the most memorable for Oosthuizen, whose seven-stroke British Open triumph ranks among the biggest Major upsets since the turn of the century.

His eagle chip at the fifth lipped the cup and stayed out, but he made amends at the sixth by sinking a 50-foot eagle putt for the highlight of a near flawless golf exhibition.

Van der Walt and Englishman Matthew Baldwin, who is five shots off the pace, each fired a nine-under-par 64 and there were rounds of 65 from Carlsson and South African Jaco van Zyl.

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