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SA’s Louis Oosthuizen plays ’the perfect round’ to lead The Open

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen shakes hands defending champion Shane Lowry their first round at the Open. Picture: Paul Childs/Reuters

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen shakes hands defending champion Shane Lowry their first round at the Open. Picture: Paul Childs/Reuters

Published Jul 15, 2021

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SANDWICH - Former champion Louis Oosthuizen said he was off to the "perfect start" in his quest to end a long-wait for a second major title after a six under par 64 fired him into a first-round lead at the British Open on Thursday.

The South African has finished second at both this year's US PGA Championship and US Open, taking his total tally of runners-up places in major tournaments to six.

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US-based South African Dylan Frittelli is two shots back alongside Canadian Mackenzie Hughesand veteran American Stewart Cink, another former champion.

Brian Harman matched his compatriot Jordan Spieth with a 65 to share second place for the moment.

Among the other SA morning starters, Justin Harding signed for an opening three-under 67, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout carded a solid opening two-under 68. Dean Burmester shot level par 70 and JC Ritchie carded one-over 71.

Jaco Ahlers, who tied off with the afternoon wave of players, also shot a two-under 68.

"Probably in my mind, the perfect round I could have played," said Oosthuizen after his opening 18 holes at Royal St George's in Sandwich, southeast England.

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"I didn't make many mistakes. When I had good opportunities for birdie, I made the putts. So just a very good solid round."

After starting off with seven straight pars, world number 13 Oosthuizen found his groove around the turn with birdies at eight, nine and 10.

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He picked up three more shots on the back nine to complete a bogey-free round and finish seven shots clear of playing partners Jon Rahm, the pre-tournament favourite, and defending champion Shane Lowry.

"I've learnt over the years playing major championships that patience is the key thing, and even if you make bogeys, know that a lot of people are going to make bogeys, added Oosthuizen, who won the British Open at St Andrews in 2010.

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"I was just very patient. I was trying to just hit my shots and didn't really hit anything close enough to make birdies those first few holes.

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"Then all of a sudden just made two good putts on eight and nine and got the ball rolling.

"It happened quickly, but you still need to put yourself in those positions, and I felt definitely the last 11 holes I gave myself a lot of opportunities."

AFP

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