Oosthuizen in U.S. Open mix after pair of 66s

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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – As his second round got underway at the U.S. Open, Louis Oosthuizen was thinking more about travel plans than a spot on the leaderboard. That’s what happens when you begin a major with a 77 and only drop from there.

But the South African has roared back from his slow start, carding consecutive rounds of 4-under 66, and at 1 under he will enter the final round with a chance to win his second major title.

“Being 9 over through 20 holes, it looked like I would have been back in Florida today,” Oosthuizen said. “Just I made a few putts yesterday and started hitting the ball really well. Found a few things this morning on the range, found a bit of a swing with my driver and seemed to sort of go from there on the rest of my game.”

Oosthuizen began the day eight shots behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, but he made a quick charge with three birdies across his first six holes. He has now carded 10 birdies and an eagle over the last 34 holes since beginning his second round with back-to-back bogeys.

There have been six rounds of 66 or better this week at Chambers Bay, and Oosthuizen has authored two of them.

“I started hitting the ball better and better and better as I went through the second round, and I really hit it well today,” he said. “So it just shows you to never give up, especially on a golf course like this. If you play well and you shoot 1 or 2 under you can really climb the leaderboard.”

Oosthuizen was a member of Thursday’s miserable marquee grouping, as he and playing partners Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler combined to shoot 28 over par in the opening round. While he is the only member of the trio still standing at Chambers Bay, he admitted that their collective stumble out of the gates took a toll.

“I think we just pulled each other down quite a bit,” he said. “It’s tough when all three players (play) like that, you don’t really get into it.”

Nearing the five-year anniversary of his breakthrough win at St. Andrews, Oosthuizen is eager to build on his new-found momentum in the final round.

“If I hit it the way I did today, I think I’ve got a pretty good chance of putting a good number out there again,” he said.