Louis Oosthuizen put on a clinic in Sunday’s third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He set several new tournament records, including posting the lowest 54-hole total (19-under), making the most consecutive birdies (seven), and carding the lowest score on the front nine at TPC Boston (29).
At one point, Oosthuizen was cruising a la the Open Championship at St. Andrews in 2010, where he won by a decisive seven strokes. At one point here in the present day, Louis led by seven shots over Rory McIlroy, who recently won the PGA Championship, his second-career major, at Kiawah Island.
It looked like the smooth-swinging South African was going to continue to run away from the field, but his super powers eventually wore off and he became human again. Oosthuizen missed his putt for his 8th birdie in a row, and even posted a bogey on the 17th to briefly drop back to seven-under on the day. However, he bounced back with a birdie on the 18th.
Yes, that’s right, your math is correct — he birdied 9 of 18 holes on the way to firing an eight-under 63.
Meanwhile, McIlroy, who played with Oosthuizen, stepped up to the challenge and hung in there. As impressive as Oosty’s round was, credit McIlroy for staying within striking distance and posting a four-under 67. He trails by three strokes, which, as we know, is an easy deficit to erase. NO LEAD IS SAFE. Especially under all this PLAYOFF PRESSURE.
Wait, what pressure?
Oosthuizen, who arguably has the best swing in golf, is really good, but it’s difficult to replicate his performance on Sunday. In other words, the chances of any player going that low and shooting back-to-back 63s are slim. That’s not to say he won’t still fire a 66 or 67, but it’s hard to keep that kind of momentum going.
All that said, watch out for McIlroy on Monday. He hasn’t been striking the ball as well as usual, but he’s making up for it with his stellar short game, particularly his putting. He’s had 24, 26 and 26 putts in the first three rounds, respectively, and ranks 1st in putts per round and 6th in strokes gained putting.
Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson are the next closest competitors at 13-under, with a six-stroke deficit to overcome the lead. Again, we’ve seen larger comebacks this year, but it seems everyone’s money is on Rory. I don’t want to pull the vintage Wei jinx, so I’ll just say, that’s not a bad bet.
Louis vs. Rory should be a fun match to watch, not to mention they have two of the sweetest swings in the game. Speaking of which, whose is better?
*Aside: Loved that Louis’ player-manager insisted they do it proper and take the subway (which sounded scary at first) to Flushing Meadows to watch the U.S. Open last Monday. I was told Louis (and Charl Schwartzel, I think) enjoyed the ride and how convenient/easy it was to get there (way quicker than sitting in traffic)…and just the entire experience, including the tennis.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)