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Oosthuizen Leads Deutsche Bank Championship
Louis Oosthuizen came out firing on all cylinders Sunday in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. The 29-year-old South African carded seven birdies - including six in a round on the fourth through ninth holes to go out in 7-under 29.
Though he cooled down on the back, with two more birdies and a bogey for a 34, the 2010 British Open champion came into the clubhouse with a 9-under 63 to take a three-shot lead in the $8 million event, the second of four events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
His 54-hole total of 19-under 194 set a new tournament record, as did his sparkling 29 on the front nine. Oosthuizen leads second-round leader Rory McIlroy, who shot a 67, by three and Dustin Johnson (65) and Tiger Woods (68) by six.
Oosthuizen admitted later that he just rolled along during his incredible start. "When rounds like this come around - on the front nine, you just ride with it," he said at greenside.
"Probably the start anyone would dream of on that front nine," he later told reporters in the media center. "I made everything, so you get those days where you just look at a putt and you hole it. That was my first nine holes. You know, still played well on the back nine, put myself in good spots to make birdies, and just couldn't make any. Couldn't make any putts." (See below for his full post-round interview.)
His playing partner, McIlroy, was impressed. After Oosthuizen parred the 11th hole and McIlroy birdied the par-3, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman breathed a sigh of relief. "Louis put on a display right there," McIlroy told PGATour.com of Oosthuizen's front-nine blitz. "I was delighted when I got the honor back on the 12th tee."
McIlroy, who carded six birdies and a couple of bogeys in the third round of an event that will have a rare, scheduled Monday finish, knows the tournament is far from settled. "It's hard not to look at the guy beside you making all these birdies and feel like you're going backwards. But as I said, just stay patient and concentrate on yourself.
"I thought if I went out and shot another solid score in the mid-60s like I did, I'd be in a good position going into tomorrow, and I still feel like I am in a good position, only three back. I've come from further behind before. It's going to be an interesting day tomorrow," McIlroy added.
Woods later bemoaned his continued difficulties on the greens. During his first-round 64 he needed 28 putts; on Saturday he had 30 strokes on the short grass; and on Sunday he again used 28 putts. "Today, I had a few nice looks; didn't make 'em," he said at greenside.
But like McIlroy, Woods isn't ready to concede the tournament to Oosthuizen. "(The win is) definitely gettable. You have a short par-4 the first hole and then a driver and kind of a short-iron or mid-iron into the second hole, and you can drive the fourth. You've got to get off to a quick start, at least get some momentum going. I did it once before against Vijay (Singh) here, so maybe I can do it again."
Sharing fifth at 202 are Bryce Molder (68) and Ryan Moore (70), while another stroke back in seventh are Charley Hoffman (69) and Jason Dufner (70).
Brandt Snedeker (65), David Hearn (68), Phil Mickelson (68), Jeff Overton (69) and D.A. Points (71) are tied for ninth at 204. Sharing 14th at 205 are Webb Simpson (66) and John Senden (70), and tied for 16th at 206 are Jim Furyk (65), Steve Stricker (68), Adam Scott (68) and Matt Every (68).
Also at 206 are Keegan Bradley, who matched Oosthuizen for Sunday's low round, a 63, and Nick Watney. Watney, the winner in last week's Barclays - the first event in the FedEx Cup Playoffs - carded a 66.
Bradley, a native of Vermont, was pleased to perform well in front of the friendly New England gallery. "I've had such opportunities to come to New York and here and play well in front of fans, and I finally got that chance today to really shoot a good round and hear the crowd (get) going. It meant a lot to me to hear everybody do that," he said.
Other scores included a 70 by No. 2-ranked Luke Donald, who's tied for 27th at 209 entering the final round. Donald got into hot water after criticizing TPC of Boston's par-5 18th hole and its designer, Gil Hanse, Saturday night in a tweet he thought was personal but that went public.
"Gil Hanse is a (expletive). Haha," he tweeted. Though he deleted the posts within minutes, he received many phone calls after he published his telephone number with the tweets. After the third round, the Englishman told reporters, "I made a mistake, unfortunately. I made an error.
"I sent a message that was not meant to go out on Twitter, and I take full responsibility. I realized it immediately, tried to delete it and tried to move on. Unfortunately, it got caught up there, and such is life. I didn't mean to put it out there, and I apologize to anyone I offended, especially Gil Hanse."
Defending FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas now stands T-42 at 2-under 211 after a third-round 68.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard.
After signing his scorecard, Oosthuizen met with reporters for a Q&A. Here's what he told the media about his stellar day in Boston.
MODERATOR: Louis, quite the successful round 3 here at the Deutsche Bank Championship, 8 under 63, quite the impressive front nine, 29 with a birdie to make it seven in a row, I believe. Just some comments on the round, and then we'll take questions.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, obviously probably the start anyone would dream of on that front nine. I made everything, so you get those days where you just look at a putt and you hole it. That was my first nine holes. You know, still played well on the back nine, put myself in good spots to make birdies, and just couldn't make any. Couldn't make any putts. And then with the one bogey on 17, the first green I missed, so a bit disappointed at the trap shot I hit there. But nice birdie on 18.
Q. In your mind what was the greater accomplishment, the double eagle at 2 at Augusta or those seven birdies in a row?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I'd still take the double-eagle (smiling).
Q. What was going through your mind when you were on that roll with the seven birdies in a row?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think at that stage, nothing. You just keep on going. I went at most of the pins. Once I started getting birdies, making putts, I started going at the pins because my swing felt great, and after 10 holes being 8 under, you always think about getting it to 59. I didn't do anything different from there on in. I hit great shots on 11, 12, 13, 14, so I gave myself good chances to post that number. But I think it would have been really tough playing tomorrow shooting in the 50s today. So I'm very happy with my 8 under today.
Q. Actually you hit a great shot into 3, and you actually had a chance there, as well. What happened on that putt there? You looked at that one and it didn't go in.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was one of those where you just need to put a bit of speed on it, otherwise it's a funny little breaker that was just out the left edge, and I did put speed on it, just on the complete wrong line. I pushed it a little bit, and just a bad putt I hit. And then I made actually a good four footer, return four footer for par, but just a misread and everything. Still early in the round.
Q. You talked about this outside, but late in the round you looked like you were kind of grabbing your shoulder or chest area. What happened there?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I don't know. On 16 I had to hit a big 9 iron. I probably went at it a bit too hard, a bit steep on the ball, in the ground, and just felt a little pinch in one of the muscles. I felt it on 17 still on the 5 wood off the tee and the second shot, so you know, that stage you're thinking about all kinds of things, what's wrong. But on 18 I just from 18 on I didn't feel anything, so it probably just I don't know, a little something, but nothing major.
Q. Do I understand you correctly that you're glad that you didn't shoot 59 today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I won't say that. You know, I think it was a great opportunity to put myself in a big lead going into tomorrow. That changes everything. But you know, Rory, I knew he was always going to come back on the back nine. I knew he was always going to push it, and he hit a lot of shots really close and made good birdies. You know, it's three shots tomorrow. I think it'll be a good day.
Q. As strange as this sounds because of the start you got off to, are you at all disappointed sitting here because you could have shot a really low number or you had a six shot lead at one point and now it's less than that?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, the lead, obviously it's not - I didn't give a lot of shots away. Rory just kept on coming at me, and I knew that. I knew I needed to make birdies to keep a five or six shot lead. So a bit disappointed in that I had a lot of opportunities on the back nine still for birdies, and I only made two with a bogey on 17. You know, all in all, started the day one behind going into tomorrow, leading by three, I'm very happy. It's a bit strange saying that Sunday afternoon because you think you'd be holding the trophy right here now.
Q. Was that feeling you had in your right shoulder, was that something you've had before in a tournament?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I think a few times, both sides. It's probably just a little muscle. I don't know. It's nothing big.
Q. It's something that's worked itself out, though?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, as I'm sitting here I don't feel it at all. I mostly feel it when I'm going through the ball. I'm not much worried about it.
Q. When you look at that birdie run, when is the last time you felt that in control of all parts of your game?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I don't even know before today how many was my run before that, how many in a row. Like I said, after making the putt on 8, I felt like I can't miss anything. And then on 9, it was one of those, you just needed to get it high enough out, and then it's all about the speed, and I got it perfect again. And 10 I hit it to a foot. You know, standing on the putt on 11, I thought I had a perfect line again. The last thing I thought was missing it. I wanted to make it. You know, you've got so much confidence if you start making big putts because you know you just need to hit the greens and you've got yourself a good opportunity for the birdies. My iron play has been really good.
Q. You've never played in this tournament before this year. What did you know about the golf course before you got here, and what has allowed it to be so much to your liking?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, first time here. I just heard a lot of things, everyone was saying there's a lot of birdies on the golf course, and if you're playing well, you can shoot really low numbers. You know, it's a good course. I think if you play well, you can shoot really low numbers around here, but still, you need to put yourself in good spots off the tee. You need to come from the fairways into the greens, and I've just been hitting the ball really well. You know, it's all about making the putts, and I did the front nine.
Q. You've never won in the States despite the Open Championship victory. How important is it to you to kind of check that off your resumé?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's always nice to get it done. I've put myself in great spots this year, had a good chance at Houston, had a good chance at Augusta, a few other tournaments, WGC earlier. I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing. The more I'm in the position on the back nine on Sunday, or in this case on a Monday, then it's going to happen sooner or later. I'm just going to keep on plodding on.
MODERATOR: Louis, congratulations on a great day, and keep it up tomorrow.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.